Dallas city leaders hope a new service contract approved this week makes a big improvement in the appearance of Dallas freeways.
The $9,464,600 deal with the Good Earth Corporation covers trash removal and landscaping maintenance on 3,300 acres of Texas Department of Transportation property in Dallas, including highway medians, parkways, shoulders and interchanges.
The firm received good marks for other city work. It replaces another contractor that rated poorly on freeway grounds maintenance.
Dallas first agreed to supplement state highway maintenance spending in 2011.
“I guess it’s our choice to have it look better than TxDOT was willing to have the property look,” Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates said.
Gates’ district includes portions of North Central Expressway where TxDOT and the city have been working for years to grow native grasses in the median with mixed results.
“I get a lot of complaints related to that spine,” Gates said.
As they approved the new contract Tuesday, city officials said they expect better results from the new vendor.
TxDOT will pay a third of the cost.
Several council members said they still think the state should pay for the all the maintenance on state highways.
“This is money we could be spending on lots of other things in the city because they’re not living up to their responsibility,” Council Member Sandy Greyson said.
City officials said the new contract will support more “Green Ribbon Projects” that add and maintain new landscaped areas along freeway shoulders. Several have already been planted in Dallas along Interstate 20 and at Interstate 45 and Simpson Stuart Road.
“I think it’s a great decision,” said driver Zach Lopez. “I think people should be proud of Dallas, and that comes a lot with aesthetics.”
Suzanne Feiler said Dallas drivers spend a lot of time on freeways.
“They spend a lot of time on the road and I don’t think it’s ever wrong for the city to be beautiful,” she said.
Driver Colten Marsh disagreed.
“Presentation is important, but I think personally there’s better ways to allocate taxpayer dollars. I don’t think it’s all that important,” he said.
The Dallas Street Department, along with the TxDOT, will oversee work by the private contractor.