The study into building a toll road through Hunt, Collin, Dallas and Rockwall counties continues to draw controversy.
On Monday, the Wylie city council unanimously voted to oppose the construction of a private toll road in a special session.
The proposed project is a product of a study by the North Central Texas Council of Governments called The Blacklands Corridor Study, which is examining future population growth, travel patterns, existing roads and future needs in the area.
One of the study’s early conclusions was the need to alleviate traffic on I-30 and Highway 78, possibly by constructing a private tollway linking Greenville with Wylie.
According to a statement from Wylie’s mayor Eric Hogue, however, although members of council acknowledge and support long-range, comprehensive and regional transportation planning, “they believe the proposed routes of the toll road will not benefit the citizens of the City of Wylie and its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction”.
Property owners William and Cheryl Clark share the sentiment.
They own land near the Collin County town of Nevada, which they say could be impacted by the construction of the toll road, as laid out in one of its potential routes.
“We spent probably 10 years driving around all the counties around here looking for the right piece of property – and this was it,” William Clark said, showing NBC5 the pasture land his property borders, which he fears may soon become highways and service roads.
“That wouldn’t be a very nice place to sit and watch during retirement,” said Clark.
On Tuesday, the Clarks attempted to attend a scheduled information session in Wylie, hosted by the Texas Turnpike Corporation, the private company seeking to develop the project, which could also possibly use eminent domain to acquire land.
However, the last scheduled information sessions scheduled for Wylie and Royse City had been canceled the day before – a move the Clarks said didn’t give them an opportunity to ask their questions.
The developer released the following statement to NBC5:
We thank everyone for their participation in the Northeast Gateway environmental study process. Over the last two weeks we have received valuable feedback throughout the corridor and are currently working on several updated items, including more detailed project maps with road names and indicators, to be available to the public soon.
K. Neal Barker, a board member of Texas Turnpike Corp.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments plans to delay the discussion of the project and its long-range transportation plan until November 13, according to a different release.