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Mapping a plan: Updated transportation goals on the table

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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As the countdown to 2020 starts, Wise County is putting together long-range and short-term transportation plans.

Wise County commissioners will consider approving the county’s first update to its transportation plan in more than a decade at its meeting Monday.

The plan was completed by the North Central Texas Council of Government’s (NCTCOG) Regional Thoroughfare and Subarea Planning branch with input from county officials and the Texas Department of Transportation. Various leaders in Wise County cities also reviewed the plans and provided input.

NCTCOG did not charge the county for the plan that will be used as a priority list for TxDOT projects, along with identifying future needs to enhance various county roads.

“We hope we can use this as an advocacy and education tool to show that it would be a wise investment of dollars to take care of some safety issues out here before it gets hit really hard with even more traffic that we know is coming,” said County Judge J.D. Clark.

“Talking to TxDOT about needing roadway money, it’s one thing to just say anecdotally that we need to do something about this road, but to be able to kind of show them the data on accidents, flooding concerns and housing growth and why it makes sense to spend money on this roadway … we think this is going to help us.”

Clark said TxDOT officials sit in on most of the meetings to listen to concerns and provide feedback.

“They want to know as funding becomes available what are the priorities for us,” he said. “This helps prioritize for them where we’d like to see money spent in Wise County. Hopefully we can get some of these projects included in the regional transportation commission, which runs through [NCTCOG]. They decide where some of the funding goes for transportation in the region.”

Nine priority corridors were identified in the near-term recommendations, which Clark said TxDOT defines as 20 years or less.

“We hope much less,” he said.

The projects included:

  • FM 1810/U.S. 81/287 interchange: the county asks for Farm Road 1810 from Caldwell Road to U.S. 81/287 be addressed with realignment of the road and an improved intersection with U.S. 81/287.
  • U.S. 81/287 from Tarrant County line to Pioneer Road: the county asks for the reopening of abandoned frontage roads in the stretch.
  • U.S. 81/287 from Pioneer Road to County Road 4421: the county asks for TxDOT to complete frontage road connections.
  • U.S. 81/287 from CR 4421 to CR 4127: the county asks for construction of frontage roads.
  • FM 730 corridor: the county has two recommendations for the stretch from U.S. 81/287 to the Tarrant County line with the top priority being the safety improvements. The long-term priority is the feasibility of FM 730 being a regional connecting corridor.
  • Texas 114 from U.S. 380 to the Denton County line: the county asks for safety and capacity updates.
  • Texas 114 at FM 51 intersection: the county would like a grade separation or realignment of FM 51 to provide safer access or crossing of Texas 114. A similar project was recently completed for FM 51 South toward Springtown.
  • Texas 101 from U.S. 380 to FM 1810: the county asks for reconstruction with safety improvements.
  • U.S. 380 from Texas 101 to FM 1658: the county wants to see improved access to recreational facilities in Bridgeport. The request was made by Bridgeport officials.

On the maps for the near- and long-term priorities, sites of multiple-fatality accidents are indicated to highlight safety needs. Elevated flood concerns are also indicated.

While the county is looking to pass the priority list, Clark said it can be adapted as needs arise due to growth or changes in traffic patterns.

“It’s not a concrete fixed document,” he said. “But since we haven’t done one in 10 years, it’s not something high on anybody’s priority list or radar. I really think that this is something that should be refreshed every couple of years. We’re going to be right on some of growth projections, but there may be some other things that come up and surprise us.”

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