Collin County Commissioners approved a $750 million transportation bond on Monday, with $600 million of that specifically being used for new highways.
Collin County Judge Keith Self told NBC 5 the money would be divvied up on an 80/20 basis between freeway projects and local or arterial roads.
About $600 million (80 percent of $750 million) would go toward highway projects in Collin County. Two of those projects have already been identified, according to Self – the expansion of U.S. 380 and the creation of an entirely new north-south freeway east of U.S. 75.
With Collin County’s population growing faster than any other county in North Texas, county officials are planning on how to get all these people around in the future.
"We're not looking at next year or the year after. We're looking at 5 to 7 years, decades down the road," said Self, who added there is currently just under 1 million people living in Collin County. However, in just 20 to 30 years the population is expected to more than double.
In addition to U.S. 380, Self noted that – at some point in the foreseeable future – there will be a concerted effort to identify a potential route for a new north-south highway, east of 75, that would help to alleviate the daily gridlock that drivers face along that freeway.
“It’s going to provide transportation for a whole new population that doesn’t even exist today,” said Self.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments is conducting a study to decide where the highway would go.
Self said they are considering four different routes: one that would be between 75 and Lake Lavon, another that would go over the peninsula of Lake Lavon, one that would expand Texas 78 and finally one that would be the “outer loop” somewhere between 78 and the county border.
Self said they are currently in the pre-construction phase, and it could take years for drivers to start seeing any type of road work.
"We've got engineering to do, public hearings to do, environment studies to do, right of way acquisitions ... all of that has to happen over the next five to seven years before construction even starts," he said.
The new highway is not expected to provide any relief for drivers on 75, according to Self and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
“The [North Central Texas Council of Governments] has determined you cannot simply build more lanes on 75 and expect that to be enough,” Self said.
For now, the county is adding HOV lanes and technology upgrades to help with that congestion.