The public got the chance to see proposed frontage road improvements for U.S. Highway 287 from State Highway 360 to Lampasas Street in Ennis on Thursday evening. Maps were on display at the Waxahachie Civic Center showcasing the project, with TxDOT personnel on hand to answer questions.
According to TxDOT’s website, a feasibility study is under way for improvements that would span 32 miles. The study’s goal is to identify and evaluate the potential construction of continuous one-way frontage roads, including grade separations and access control.
Public information officer Danielle Boyd said TxDOT is seeking the public’s input on any potential changes and to address concerns they might have about what is involved.
“The purpose of the project is, of course, for safety, more access and also to reduce congestion in these areas,” Boyd said. “This is the first part of this process and there have been no dates of the construction set. It is very early on in the process.”
The project has two build alternatives. The first would be the construction of rural frontage roads with wide medians and shoulders with roadside ditches that accommodate future widening. In this alternative, the U.S. Highway 67 interchange is fully reconstructed.
The second build alternative is a mixture of rural and urban frontage roads within a minimal right-of-way footprint. Future widening would require additional right of way and partial reconstruction of the frontage roads. In this alternative, the U.S. Highway 67 interchange is partially reconstructed.
“With build alternative one, there are two potential realignments and one is a railroad issue,” Boyd said. “Build alternative one is going to require more right of way. It is also a plan that helps for the future if there is future expansion and things like that.
“Now, with build alternative two, there might be some potential realignments but we haven’t really gotten into that and it is not as much right of way (involved),” she said. “That is the difference with the project.”
Waxahachie resident Ron Gibson said he’s concerned about how the project will affect areas that are already problems for motorists.
“I’m just kind of concerned about the 287 advancements, especially the one up at Walnut Grove where the traffic backs up,” he said. “[At certain times of the day], the traffic can back up to a half or three-quarters of a mile depending on what side you are on. It is pretty bad because you can sit there at the light for 15 minutes before being able to get through.
“I just want to see how it looks, when they are going to build it, what they are going to do and how they are going to make things better for the future,” he said.
Seeing the presentation helped to understand what TxDOT has in mind for the area, he said, noting that “it’s great” to have questions answered.
Fellow Waxahachie resident David Lewis said he’s interested in what TxDOT is doing with the service roads, adding that he also shares Gibson’s concerns about how the traffic stacks up at the Walnut Grove and U.S. Highway 287 intersection.
Written or electronic comments from the public will be accepted for 15 calendar days following Thursday’s meeting. Comments may be submitted in person online, or by mail to Attention: Matthew Atkinson, P.E. TxDOT Dallas District Office, 4777 E. U.S. Highway 80 Mesquite, TX 75150 or by email Matthew.Atkinson@txdot.gov.
Written comments must be postmarked on or before June 28 to be included in the documentation of the public meeting.
Information about the project can be found on TxDOT’s website, www.keepitmovingdallas.com.