The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

March 28, 2013

No route chosen, no maps for toll road

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — Officials with a private corporation which is wanting to build a toll road between Greenville and Lavon say there have been no decisions made as to exactly where the road will go.

“We’re working right now with engineers and environmentalists,” said K. Neal Barker with Public Werks Incorporated of Dallas. “That will be a several months process.”

The company is behind what has most recently been identified as The Blacklands Corridor, formerly the Blacklands Turnpike. The proposal has also included a plan to build a new, non-toll road from west to east across North Greenville, connecting the Blacklands Corridor with Interstate 30.

But Barker said there is even less concrete information on that effort.

“I would consider that as a separate project,” Barker said of the road, which the company is referring to as the Greenville Parkway. “That is in its infancy right now.”

The Greenville City Council and the Hunt County Commissioners Court have each voted to approve non-binding resolutions of support for the proposal to build a privately owned toll road, covering approximately 24 miles between just west of Greenville and Lavon in Collin County, along a portion of the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (NETEX) right-of-way. The right-of-way was secured through a long term ground lease agreement between the company and NETEX through the cities of Josephine and Nevada, to just west of State Highway 278 in Lavon.

The company is proposing to build a limited access four lane divided toll road in and along the right-of-way, leaving room for NETEX’s rail restoration plan in the future, in order to help relieve congestion along Interstate 30 between Rockwall County and Dallas County. Phase 2 of the project, between State Highway 78 and the President George Bush Turnpike will be planned and constructed in the future.

Barker said a route for the toll road has not yet been determined, but that a map of the proposal may be ready by later this spring.

“We anticipate by June we should have a map showing the preferred and alternate alignments,” Barker said.

The “Blacklands Corridor” has met with considerable opposition from those who live in the rural area where the road may be located, many of whom have submitted their complaints and petitions to the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Barker said there will be additional hearings scheduled in the near future by the RTC concerning the project.

“I think the public meetings are going to start in April,” Barker said.

As to the Greenville Parkway, Barker said the company has not started meeting with city of Greenville officials about the project, adding there isn’t even any commitment to build the road.

“The Blacklands Turnpike could potentially terminate at Highway 69,” Barker said. “That is all open for discussion.”