Eva Czerniak of Alvord received a couple of phone calls this week that rewarded her relentless efforts to secure funding for the expansion of U.S. 380.
Her daughter, Samantha Rogers, and friend, Delaney Mancil, were killed on this stretch of highway just east of Nail Road near Denton in November.
The project to widen the highway between the Wise/Denton County line and Interstate 35 in Denton will cost $72 million.
After the allocation of $20.5 million in Proposition 14 funds from the 82nd legislative session through the Texas Transportation Commission last Thursday, the project received additional revenue from two other sources – fully funding the effort.
“We’ve gotten 380 completely funded, down to the penny,” Czerniak said. “It’s amazing. It’s been such a short amount of time, and somebody actually listened to us. I’m in shock.”
Wednesday, Denton County Precinct 4 Commissioner Andy Eads phoned Czerniak to notify her that the county had approved spending $8.5 million in regional toll revenue on the project.
Within hours, she received a phone call from Michael Morris, director of transportation for North Central Texas Council of Governments (COG), saying the project could receive additional funding through Proposition 12 funds, to be decided the next day.
“Through the 82nd legislature, (COG) received funds leftover from other projects,” COG communications coordinator Jahnae Stout said. “The council decides how to allocate it to the various projects. Staff recommendations include putting $43 million of that money toward U.S. 380.”
Thursday, the council approved the total amount proposed, bringing the tally of designated money to $72 million.
“All (allocations) combined, puts us over the goal line,” Stout said.
According to TxDOT public information supervisor Cynthia Northrop White, the next steps are “doing interim safety improvements including pavement markings with raised markings (which will notify drivers they are crossing the line), edge and center line markings, tree trimming and sign repairs.”
Work on the project will occur in two phases.
The western section, phase I, spans from the Wise County line east to approximately one-half mile west of Farm Road 156, and is slated to begin by Thanksgiving.
Phase II, the eastern section, extending just west of Farm Road 156 to I-35, will begin the following spring.
However, Czerniak said she will look into reversing the project order.
“Phase II is the most dangerous stretch of the project,” she said. “That’s where the girls were killed. I guess I’ve accomplished one goal. I’ve got to move on to another.”
In the mean time, she continues to celebrate the conquering of this feat.
“I still think it’s a miracle,” Czerniak said. “Our girls are up there dancing in heaven right now.”