The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

July 24, 2013

Public meeting on toll road nears

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

— A public meeting is scheduled this week concerning a proposed toll road between Greenville and Lavon, prior to the start of a transportation study on the project.

The North Central Texas Council Of Governments (NCTCOG) has scheduled the meeting Thursday, in the cafeteria of Phyllis NeSmith Elementary School, 801 Presidents Boulevard in Lavon. An open house is set for 6 p.m., followed by a presentation and public comments at 6:30 p.m. and a follow-up open house at 7:30 p.m.

Residents, elected officials, business leaders and anyone interested in the Blacklands Corridor is being invited to the event, which will focus on the upcoming feasibility study to evaluate the need for the toll road.

Staff from the NCTCOG transportation department are scheduled to be on hand to seek input from the public about transportation priorities in the area, as well as summarize the study.

Public Werks is behind The Blacklands Corridor,  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.

In June, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) directed NCTCOG staff to undertake a Corridor Feasibility Study of the Blacklands Corridor, which is expected to take approximately 12-18 months to complete. According to the RTC, it allow for work to be performed on the proposed tollroad as an early product of the study. And following an initial review of the corridor, the proposed tollroad might be able to proceed concurrently with the remainder of the study.

Thursday’s meeting is expected to include information concerning the geographical area where the tollroad is to be built; the purpose, process and goals associated with the project; a proposed timeline for the work; and opportunities for public involvement.