Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Rockwall Reporter
Rockwall County officially opened a wider Farm to Market Road 740 Friday after years of horrible congestion and traffic near the county's retail hub and medical corridor.
The multimillion dollar north Farm-to-Market 740 in Rockwall County is open after decades of planning.
The $12 million project widened FM 740 to four lanes after two years. It is the only direct road connecting the city of Heath and north and south Rockwall County to Interstate 30.
"Every day we'd been waiting," Kevin Fowler said. "We were getting closer and closer and closer, and they finally opened it. We were thrilled."
"This has been just a long-awaited project, and we're excited to celebrate today," Rockwall County Commissioner Lorie Grinnan said. "It's a tremendous day."
The road project made the highway safer and wider.
"It's been a dangerous highway for a long time," Rep. Ralph Hall said. "It's had ... one turn that they called 'death turn' there, and they straightened it out. "
Construction on the south part of FM 740 does not start until next January, so drivers there still have two lanes.
County officials have been planning development around the road since the 1990s.
"This roadway was really the only way for residents to reach I-30 and all the retail in the north, but also it will allow for development in the south," Grinnan said.
In all, construction costs $25 million, a third of which will be paid for by Rockwall County taxpayers from 2004 and 2008 bond elections.
"I am thrilled to death," Fowler said. "Opening the road gave me another 10, 15 minutes back."
Some lanes will be shut down from time to time for landscaping projects when the weather warms.