North Texas

Three New Freeways Could Be Solution to Collin County Traffic

It is a long road ahead to ease traffic congestion in booming Collin County.

The state demographer projects the county's population will double by 2030. It is currently near 900,000, which would increase it to 1.8 million.

And there are no signs of slowing growth. By 2040, that number is expected to exceed 2.5 million people.

There is also the more immediate driving factor of thousands of new employees coming to work at Toyota, Liberty Mutual and JP Morgan Chase in Plano's Legacy West in a matter of months.

"It means that the county has got to move faster with freeways," Collin County Judge Keith Self said.

Self said they have narrowed it down to three "must-haves" – and none of them are quick fixes.

"We need to move (U.S. Highway) 380 to a freeway with on-ramps, off-ramps and main lanes. We need a north-south alternative to (U.S. Highway) 75, wherever that may be, and the study is ongoing right now. And we need the outer-loop to progress," he said.

The challenge, Self said, is figuring out exactly where to place those highways in a county that is constantly developing.

Legally the county does not have the right to reserve any kind of right-of-way.

The Texas Department of Transportation and the North Texas Council of Governments are analyzing potential corridors to determine placement and size.

"It looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better," said driver Michelle Bentz. She has called Collin County home for more than 30 years.

Bentz has a 45-minute commute to work, from McKinney to Lavon, driving a congested Highway 380 to a newly-widened State Route 78.

"I don't know if there is a simple solution," she said. "But I like the construction because it just means we are moving forward."

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