The Denton County town of Little Elm is bracing for big changes when the Lewisville Lake toll bridge opens in July.
Mayor Frank Kastner said the bridge is expected to bring 40,000 more vehicles a day through the town and greatly reduce commute times for drivers trying to reach Interstate 35E to the west.
Little Elm is interviewing partner companies for a town center development to serve additional growth. New roads and public safety buildings are also planned.
"As the road comes through, our commercial retail business is going to grow, and that's what is gong to enable us to pay for a lot of this," Kastner said.
Developer Brett Cochran, of Braeswood Companies, helped conceive the town center project. His company is also building upscale homes in Little Elm in advance of the bridge-opening.
Cochran said Little Elm, which is on the north shore of Lewisville Lake, is well-positioned for growth, even as other areas weaken.
"This is a window of opportunity that we've created," Cochran said. "And it's exciting -- nothing that I've ever experienced before."
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But some existing residents are not as excited about the changes.
The town's population has grown more than 10 times larger than the 2,000 it was just 10 years ago.
"There's some people who like it smaller, including myself," said longtime resident Ashley Winstead.
"It takes about an hour and a half to get home," she said. "It will probably cut that in half."