Big changes in store for Frontier Parkway
Joyce Godwin | Joyce@CedarbrookMedia.com
The border separating Celina and Prosper is destined for a new look now that Celina, Prosper and Collin County have all agreed on the funding.
It’s been years in the making. The need is more and more prevalent as populations increase in numbers, and the amount of traffic on Frontier Parkway increases. Last week, the final piece fell into place when the Collin County Commissioners Court approved an additional $2.4 million to help fund an overpass which will eventually end the countless hours spent waiting for the BNSF rail cars to pass.
The agenda item called for “Additional funding for the design and construction of Frontier Parkway from the DNT to SH289 (Bond Project No. 07-014) Engineering.”
It was introduced and summarized for commissioners saying the county staff has been working with the cities to try to get a consensus. The two cities agreed to paying a third of the additional funding, each in their own Council meetings; first Prosper and then Celina.
The county staff will come back to the Commissioners Court with a budget amendment to cover this proposed action and the formal agreements with the two cities to allow the county to get moving on the project. A staff member stated in the meeting acknowledging the project has been held up for a long time. “The money is readily available from the $29 million that has been available from a couple of years ago.” That $29 million was set aside from a bond election and after this expense from the county court, there should be five to seven million remaining.
“Does Celina have any money in the project at all?” County Judge Keith Self asked of the presenting staff member. The answer came that this money will be Celina’s participation.
Commissioner Susan Fletcher made the motion to move forward in funding the $2.4 million. It was seconded by Commissioner Duncan Webb and passed 4-0.
Anyone interested in viewing the video of the Commissioners Court may do so on line at http://bit.ly/2rVv7zp.
Celina Mayor Sean Terry, Prosper Mayor Ray Smith and Prosper Town Manager Harlan Jefferson were in the gallery for the commissioners’ ruling. “Usually when two cities share a road everything is split half and half,” Terry said. “What has been unusual about this situation is Prosper’s side is all public property belonging to the school district and the Town of Prosper. On our side, it’s single-family homes and commercial properties.”
Terry explained that at first when the agreement was reached to widen Frontier Parkway, the two towns agreed to not have an overpass, but then Prosper’s needs changed and an overpass is what they wanted. He said it has taken this long to get property owners on the Celina side to support the bridge because they feared it would take away their easy access.
“You want to be fiscally responsible for the citizens so you don’t want to over build and you don’t want to under build,” Terry said. “We were trying to protect our homeowners’ access to their property.”
Traffic flow is something to which both Councils and the Commissioners are paying close attention. There are highways and wide roadways running north and south such as U.S. Highway 75 and Preston Road to name a couple of examples. But Terry points out that it still takes long periods of time to travel east or west. “Transportation is a huge deal,” he said. “We try to stay ahead as much as we can pushing TxDot and North Texas Transit Authority as much as we can to take care of transportation needs.”
Terry said the Limited Access Roadways are needed to allow residents to get around the area. He talked about regional partnerships and how well the Collin County mayors like Prosper’s Mayor Smith, Frisco’s Mayor Jeff Cheney and McKinney’s Mayor George Fuller work together.
He said it’s important to stay focused on transportation and infrastructure and now it’s a struggle just keeping up with the growth.
Also known as Farm to Market 1461, the road that connects Dallas Parkway and Preston Road is only two lanes. Right now, Smith says, in addition to the overpass the plan is to make Frontier Parkway four lanes.