June 13, 2006

Road Construction

Probably the most asked question I get when traveling around Little Elm concerns various major road projects that I guess the Town itself is doing a less then adequate job of informing the citizens about. Dallas North Tollway (DNT), Eldorado Parkway and F.M. 423 are essential roads to the people of our town. As anyone caught up in the Texas heat sitting on one of these roads in bumper-to-bumper traffic can tell you, these projects are needed and the sooner the better.

Eldorado Project Overview
The North Texas Transit Authority (NTTA) in cooperation with Denton County has planned and designed a toll bridge across the northwest section of Lake Lewisville. The bridge will be part what will be called the Lewisville Lake Corridor, which will connect Swisher Road in Lake Dallas to the Dallas North Tollway via Eldorado Parkway in Little Elm. This project will allow for a new connection between Interstate Highway 35E and the DNT. The project was designed in eight sections that altogether will span 13.8 miles with only the 1.7-mile bridge over the lake being tolled. The expected completion date for this project is in 2008. NTTA will fund and construct the toll bridge and the cities bordering the Corridor, Denton County and Texas Department of Transportation will fund the improvements to the roadways on either side of the bridge.

The Eldorado Parkway Widening Project is scheduled to begin construction in early 2006. This construction’s planned date of completion is the end of 2007. This project will widen the existing 2-lane asphalt road to a 6-lane concrete divided roadway (with median). The project spans FM 423 and the DNT. Right turn/deceleration lanes will be constructed at most cross-streets. Median openings with left turn/deceleration lanes will be constructed at various locations along the project’s length. This median will vary along the project’s length as well, from 16’ planted to 5’ concrete.

The following intersections with Eldorado Parkway will be widened and signalized: FM 423, Teel, Legacy, and the DNT. The average distance between the existing subdivision fences and the proposed curb of Eldorado is approximately 30’. The project will maintain approximately the same grade at which it currently exists

The NTTA chose the final design of the bridge in May 2005. The toll bridge will feature a distinctive tied arch spanning 360 feet at the center with approaches and thresholds flanked by pairs of lighted columns. Plans, specifications and estimates for the bridge as well as public hearings for some sections were completed early in 2006. On April 20th Denton County broke ground on the first section, west of the bridge and construction is on going. Construction on the eastern approach to the bridge began this month. The entire project should cost approximately $169.2 million with the bridge itself responsible for $82 million of that figure.

DNT Extension Phase 3 Project Overview
Travel east from Little Elm and you can’t help but notice the huge road project that is the Dallas North Tollway (DNT). The DNT will soon complete sections between State Highway 121 and US 380 to the north of Frisco. A length of 9.6 miles and named the DNT Extension Phase 3. There will be three lanes in each direction connecting the fast growing northern cities to downtown Dallas. All sections of the roadway are well into the earthwork stage, retaining walls and bridges. Most of the needed drainage has been completed. Placements of concrete paving have already begun around Main Street in Frisco. The estimated cost of this project is $264 million and the estimated date of completion is September 2007.

DNT Extension Phase 4Project Overview
Planning has begun for an extension of the DNT from US 380 north to the Grayson County Line for a total length of 13.5 miles. Known as the DNT Extension Phase 4, there have been no financial commitments made on this project yet. Colin County is planning to build a two lane roadway on the alignments from US 380 to FM 428. North of FM 428 work is continuing on the final alignment of the project.

F.M. 423 Project Overview
The engineering design has been completed for the portion of F.M. 423 to DNT including the portion that connects to Eldorado Parkway. To fulfill the requirements of the conformity plan the roadway is designed to be a six lane divided roadway. On January 23rd, 2006, TxDot informed the city of Frisco that the project date had been moved from May to August 2006. Then on March 23rd TxDot informed the city of Frisco that the date was again being moved to April 2007. A public hearing will be held on July 6th 2006 to obtain the final approval of the Environmental Assessment, which is estimated to be completed in October 2006 with right-of-way acquisition to begin in July 2006. We should start seeing utility relocation at that time. Construction is estimated to take 18 months.


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