The $25 million expansion of FM2181 into a six-lane, divided urban roadway officially kicked off Friday with a chilly groundbreaking ceremony.
State and local officials were on hand at the intersection of FM2181 and Parkridge Drive in Hickory Creek to celebrate the project, which is expected to boost mobility and economic development along the roadway.
“It’s a project that’s been coming for a long time,” said Denton County Commissioner Hugh Coleman, whose precinct covers the largest portion of the project. “We needed to expand Swisher [Road] due to the growth in the area, and when the second part all the way to Lillian Miller [Parkway] is completed, that will transform a once-rural area into an urban area.
“This is the kind of transportation infrastructure that will advance our quality of life.”
The contract for the 3.3-mile project was awarded to J.D. Abrams Construction. Construction cost is expected to be $24.7 million, with Denton County contributing $13.2 million in county bond and regional toll revenue funds and the city of Corinth contributing $242,000.
In about two years, FM2181 will be a six-lane road with a raised median and with intersection improvements at all major intersections including Parkridge, Post Oak Drive and FM2499.
Coleman also noted that the road improvements will help make it safer for students attending Guyer High School who walk to and from school.
Coleman said the area has been fairly rural in years past but has rapidly developed in recent years into more of an urban area with lots of residences and businesses. He said transportation infrastructure has not kept up.
Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, who represents Hickory Creek, noted that many county officials have had their hands on the project at some point, passing the baton forward to their successors to get to this stage.
Hickory Creek Mayor John Smith said the project has lured a number of businesses because of the pending improvements.
Also on hand at the groundbreaking were Corinth Mayor Paul Ruggiere, County Judge Mary Horn, Commissioner Andy Eads, Bill Hale from the Texas Department of Transportation and District 64 state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton.
Expansion efforts began in 1999 under former Commissioner Jeff Krueger and continued through to former Commissioner Cynthia White and finally Coleman.
“These projects take a long time and I am glad it’s finally started,” Coleman said.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.