The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

June 20, 2013

Toll road feasibility study beginning, board told

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — A study has begun concerning the feasibility of a proposed toll road between Hunt and Collin counties.

The Greenville Board of Development received an update this week concerning the project being developed by Public Werks Incorporated of Dallas.

Board of Development President and CEO Greg Sims read Tuesday from an email received June 10 from Tom Shelton, Senior Program Manager for the Streamlined Project Delivery Team with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), which indicates the development of the toll road project will continue as the initial phases of the study are conducted.

“It is going to be a long project,” Sims said.

Public Werks is behind what has most recently been identified as The Blacklands Corridor, formerly the Blacklands Turnpike, a 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 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.

The measure has met with opposition from many of the residents along the proposed route of the road.

According to Shelton’s email, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) recently directed NCTCOG staff to undertake a Corridor Feasibility Study of the Blacklands Corridor.

“NCTCOG staff has developed the attached Draft Scope of Work that outlines the tasks, schedule, coordination, public involvement, and collaboration with an interested private sector group,” Shelton said. “NCTOCG’s Blacklands Corridor Study will take approximately 12-18 months to complete, but will allow for the concurrent review and incorporation of extensive work performed on proposed Blacklands tollroad as an early product of the study. After a short, initial review of the corridor, the proposed Blacklands tollroad should be able to proceed concurrently with the remainder of NCTCOG’s study with minimal delays to the developer’s proposed schedule.”

Shelton said he was offering an opportunity for all of the entities receiving the message to review the project.

“It is important that everyone is in agreement on the process and effort going forward, as NCTCOG staff, TxDOT, the private sector team, and county and city representatives proceed in collaboration,” Shelton said.