Texas Department of Transportation officials conducted the second of two public hearings to get feedback on the planned expansion of Interstate 35E on Thursday.
The hearing at the Denton Civic Center had a few dozen people in attendance, including residents and public and industry officials. TxDOT’s Bill Hale led the hearing, which covered the purpose of the expansion, how the project will be carried out, the expected time table for completion and other details.
“I wish more of the public would show up so they know what is going on,” said County Judge Mary Horn, who was in attendance along with Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell. “Of the ones who were there, I saw a lot of them talking to TxDOT representatives afterwards. They were asking good questions, and I think they walked away with good information.”
Information provided at the hearing included schematics for the length of the corridor, the contracts being negotiated with the construction firm for the project and updated handouts showing just what will be built and when, compared to what exists now.
The planned design and construction work will add two interim reversible toll lanes, one additional general-purpose lane in each direction and a new southbound bridge over Lewisville Lake in Denton County, while maximizing existing pavement and structures to minimize the need for right of way.
The construction firm on the project is AGL Constructors, a consortium that includes Archer Western Contractors LLC, Granite Construction Co. and Lane Construction Corp.
The Texas Transportation Commission, in accordance with the managed-lanes policy established by the Regional Transportation Council, will initially set toll rates on the roadway.
The toll rate will be established with a goal of maintaining a minimum average speed of 50 mph, with a higher toll set for peak-hour traffic and a lower toll set for off-peak hour traffic.
Horn said everyone wants to look at the project from their perspective — how it will affect them, help them and inconvenience them as it is built.
“There’s a lot of information there, and I think the more info people get, the better they will understand. Sure, it will be inconvenient for a while, but we have to keep our sights on the end goal, and it will be well worth it in my opinion.”
Further information on the project, contracts and technical drawings are available at www.txdot.gov.
TxDOT officials have said that written comments can be e-mailed through the project page and written comments must be received at the TxDOT Dallas District Office by 5 p.m. Monday.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.