Not a Bridge to Nowhere, But One to Nowhere Fast

Main road Lewisville Lake toll bridge feeds into won't be widened from two lanes for years

The buzz is building for the opening of the Lewisville Lake toll bridge, but not all of it is good.

The bridge is designed to shorten commutes by allowing drivers east-west access between Interstate 35 and the Dallas North Tollway.

But while the bridge will open in four days, Eldorado Parkway, the main road it will filter into, won't be widened for years. The street is still only two lanes and even narrows in some areas.

Little Elm resident Dorothy Brown said the traffic nightmares of today will be nothing compared to what will happen when the bridge opens.

"I'm going to say a disaster," she said. "You can't get out now. Six lanes of traffic will come into two."

During morning and evening commutes through Little Elm and its surrounding areas, drivers can spend a couple of hours to move a couple of miles.

Little Elm Police Chief Wayland Rhodes said he is concerned about road rage and safety.

"It's going to stack up and back up," he said. "Then you have the impatience of people who want to get home to see their families at the end of the day, if you will, and it's going to come to a stop."

The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for widening Eldorado Parkway because it doubles as a state highway.

Plans for a redesign are complete, but TxDOT is still securing the rights of way to expand the road and deciding where to put existing utility lines.

"Their current schedule is to let a contract the first of 2010," said Doug Peach, Little Elm director of public works.

If all goes according to plan, Eldorado Parkway won't be able to accommodate the bridge traffic until 2012 or 2013. Until then, drivers will be dealing with a small two-lane road -- and then one that is under construction.

But the increased traffic could be could for Little Elm businesses.

The city plans to build a new town center, and there's space for sale and land under development.

But it's not clear if drivers will stop to enjoy what Little Elm has to offer or if the city will be branded with a reputation for gridlock, making it a place to avoid with or without a bridge.

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