Cleburne Eyes Bright Future with Toll Road's Opening - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Cleburne Eyes Bright Future with Toll Road's Opening

Fort Worth and Johnson County residents hope for improved traffic conditions with road



    In just 5 days, North Texas' newest toll road opens. The 28-mile Chisholm Trail Parkway will connect downtown Fort Worth to Cleburne in Johnson County. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    On Sunday, the newest North Texas toll road will open to traffic.

    The Chisholm Trail Parkway will connect downtown Fort Worth and Cleburne in Johnson County, as well as places in-between, along its 28 mile route.
    There's been a lot of talk about how the parkway will improve mobility for southwest Fort Worth, but those who live and work in Johnson County are just as excited for what the road could mean for them, too.
    Where the parkway ends and begins at U.S. 67 on Cleburne's north side, the wind swept farm land will soon be joined by cars going 70 mph. And according to Cleburne resident Laura Clanton, that's good news.
    "I think it'll be amazing," Clanton said. "It'll be better for us in order to go back and forth to Fort Worth quicker instead of having to go through all the towns, we can just cut through."
    On Tuesday, those working at the Wright Plaza building in downtown Cleburne said they see the parkway offering the same kind of traffic relief to U.S. 67 and Texas 174, as it will to roads around southwest Fort Worth.
    "It's bumper to bumper during rush hour, it takes hours," said Pamela Decker, who's lived in Cleburne for more than 20 years. "So to be able to fly in the other way, it's going to be great."
    But the toll road isn't just a way to get to Fort Worth, it's a way to build Cleburne, too.
    "Absolutely it's a way to build Cleburne," said Cathy Marchel, president of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce.
    Marchel says the toll road could have a major positive impact in the years to come and on empty fields where the roadway drives through Johnson County.
    "They could be full of housing editions, more families, more people in the community," she said.
    The only minor concern in the community is the cost of taking the road, about a $10 round trip.
    "A little pricey, but how much gas are you wasting in the bumper to bumper traffic?" said Decker.
    But hopefully that kind of traffic will be a thing of the past, as excitement grows for the toll road's Sunday opening and where it can take them.
    "You're not just stuck in this little-bitty town, you can go to the bigger towns and do more things," Clanton said. 
    In Johnson County, the toll road is a bit different than the parts in Fort Worth.
    The road is reduced to one lane in each direction, with alternating passing lanes. The roadway can be easily expanded in the future when vehicle traffic demands a larger road.
    Despite Sunday's opening, construction will continue along parts of the roadway. Interchanges at Interstate-20 and Interstate-30 are most notably still under construction. But the NTTA says it's important to open the roadway up to traffic, as it is safe and functional to do so.