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December 9, 2012

For whom the road tolls

GREENVILLE — North Texas residents may soon travel between Hunt County and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex via a new toll road.

The Greenville City Council is being asked to back the creation of the private toll road, which would initially stretch from Greenville to Lavon and eventually to the President George Bush Turnpike.

The Council is scheduled to consider approving a resolution in support of the project during Tuesday’s regular session, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Texas Turnpike Corporation recently contacted the city about the project, Phase 1 of which would cover 20 miles between Greenville and Lavon in Collin County, along a portion of the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (NETEX) right-of-way.

NETEX was created in 1994 by the County Commissioners’ Courts in Hunt, Hopkins, Franklin and Titus counties to preserve rail service across the northeast Texas corridor. Collin County joined the Rail District in July 2005.

Blacklands Railroad utilizes the track preserved by NETEX AND can interchange with major class one railroads at both ends of the line.

The right-of-way will be secured through a long term ground lease agreement between the Texas Turnpike Corporation (TTC) and NETEX from just west of Greenville through the cities of Josephine and Nevada, to just west of State Highway 278 in Lavon.

The TTC 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.

According to an executive summary of the project, the design and construction of the project is expected to take less than three years (36 months) to complete.

Phase 2 of the project, between State Highway 78 and the President George Bush Turnpike will be planned and constructed in the future.

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