North Texas

Growing Pains Hit Wylie As Proposed Road Widening Is Announced

Just weeks after the Wylie City Council passed a resolution to stop a potential lake corridor or any other freeway, concern is brewing once again over a proposed road improvement.

It comes on the heels of an announcement from the Texas Department of Transportation that it will present plans to widen Parker Road from two to four lanes and eventually six.

The project encompasses a three-mile stretch of Parker Road to reconstruct and widen it from east of Lavon Parkway to Brown Street. It includes five-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road.

TxDOT estimates the project will total $20 million, and construction is slated to last from 2021 to 2023.

It's one of several proposed or mentioned projects to arise as leaders for the city, county and state look at what it will take to make room for a growing population.

By 2040, Collin County is expected to become home to an additional 2.5 to 3.5 million people. Much of that growth is expected to take place in its eastern communities where there is still land available for new homes.

Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue says it's not just about the growth expected in Wylie, with a planned build-out of about 75,000 people. The growth in its neighboring communities will also impact the city.

"We also know there are a lot of little towns around us like Lavon, Josephine, Nevada that also have a lot of land and people are coming," Hogue said.

But as leaders look at ways to accommodate new residents and hundreds of thousands more that will pass through, there's a brewing struggle between improvement and a yearning for what's already here.

"Packing more people in is just starting to get claustrophobic," said Wylie resident Rachel Seumalo. "It's not good. It's not good for our small town feel."

Seumalo has called Wylie home since she was a freshman in high school. Now she and her husband are raising their own children in a neighborhood just a few blocks from downtown on Parker Road.

For now, Seumalo is fighting the expansion as neighbors to the east did with a petition against the lake corridor. If she loses, she says may not stay.

"Everyone's worried about traffic, and everyone's worried about more growth, but there's no beauty left here," Seumalo said.

Hogue says while there's a concerted effort not to lose Wylie's small town feel, the growth is inevitable.

"We can't afford to just bury our heads in the sand and say, 'Well, it's just business as usual,' because it's not. We've got to look at what we can do, what the citizens want us to do. But then we can also make sure that traffic continues to flow with the least amount of accidents, the least amount of fatalities, and how we can get people in and around our community," Hogue said.

Hogue says while the Parker Road expansion is up to the state, the project has been anticipated by the city for several decades. Other roads that could need to expand include Troy Road and Park Road.

The Parker Road public hearing will be held Thursday, Jan. 11, in the McMillan Junior High School cafeteria on Park Boulevard in Wylie. Doors open at 6 p.m. The formal hearing begins at 7 p.m.

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