TxDot holds public meeting on widening of State Highway 5

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COLLIN COUNTY, TX - Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation held a public meeting in Collin County this evening to inform the public about a highway project that will affect several area communities.

Tx-Dot presented a construction project on Highway 5 that would affect the cities of Melissa, Anna and Van Alstyne.

Officials said their plan is to widen the highway to help reduce congestion and improve mobility down the road.

But not everyone is in favor of the idea.

Drivers on State Highway 5 may have noticed a bit more congestion on the road.

Tuesday afternoon Tx-Dot presented a plan to residents to help reduce some of the traffic in their area.

"The idea is to widen Highway 5 all the way from 121 to 375. Take it from two lanes and make it a four lane highway," said Ryan LaFontaine, a spokesman for Tx-Dot.

Tx-Dot's plan also includes the addition of a raised central median, anywhere from 18 to 42-feet wide, left and right hand turn lanes in designated locations, plus sidewalks and bicycle lanes in each direction.

"Now what we're doing is beginning that process to try and figure out how the best way to do that is going to be. We can't do anything without the public's input and closely listening to everyone's concerns," said LaFontaine.

The cost of the project to widen State Highway 5 is estimated at $64,000,000 but for some people, the cost of the project is more than just money.

Tx-Dot has announced that 12 private, 7 commercial and 2 publicly owned structures could potentially be displaced as a result of the proposed project.

Although many residents agree the area along the highway has grown, there are mixed emotions about the proposed plan.

"The property needs to be developed and we need a way to move the traffic. I think the widening of State Highway 5 is the way to go," said Howard Cox, an Anna resident.

"I don't really see the congestion this very costly project is being based on. The congestion just isn't here in Melissa. I'm on highway 5 almost everyday. I'm not sure that's it's not a little bit excessive," said Bert Petrie, a Melissa resident.

The purposed project will stretch about 9 miles down State Highway 5, but Tx-Dot said it'll be a while before residents start seeing construction zones and equipment.

They said tonight was just one of many public meetings they plan to hold in the future to hear residents concerns.

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