Friday, July 21, 2006

“We’re the smallest county in Texas... It’s too big for Rockwall County."

Rockwall County residents voice opposition to TTC-35 project

July 21, 2006

By BRIAN PORTER, Managing Editor
McKinney Courier-Gazette
Copyright 2006

MESQUITE -- An assemblage of mostly Rockwall County residents voiced their opposition Tuesday to the Trans-Texas Corridor Interstate-35 (TTC-35) proposal during a public hearing with the Texas Department of Transportation at Mesquite’s Poteet High School.

The TTC-35 proposal is intended to meet the state’s future transportation needs, as it will complement the existing north-south highway system by providing an alternative route to I-35.

A TxDOT study determined that about 45 percent of 21 million Texans live within 50 miles of I-35, or within the study area of the project. Traffic volumes for most segments of I-35 exceed design capacity, the study indicates. The study adds that commercial truck traffic is projected to increase by 403 percent from 1998 to 2060.

From Laredo to San Antonio, the recommended preferred corridor alternative (RCA No. 5) follows I-35. The RCA No. 5 is then offset to the east on a parallel with I-35 from San Antonio to Dallas and ends at Gainesville.

About 600 miles in length, the project could separate commercial truck traffic from occupancy vehicle traffic.

The public hearing Tuesday was one of 54 taking place within the study area between July 10 and Aug. 10. Rockwall County residents were most concerned, as the RCA No. 5 begins an eastern turn just south of Waxahachie and proceeds through Ennis and continues in a northeastern direction through Rockwall County before turning back west just north of McKinney.

Thom Bouis, a candidate for Rockwall County Judge, and Linda Stall, a leader of a citizen’s group titled Corridor Watch which is opposed to the TTC-35 proposal, were among 17 speakers all in opposition to the project. About 200 people attended the public hearing.

“We’re the smallest county in Texas,” Bouis said. “Therefore, this will have the highest impact on us. It would be a fundamentally changing fact of life. It’s too big for Rockwall County. The folks in Rockwall County have not been given a hearing.”

Robert Barton, a landowner in Rockwall County, also voiced his opposition to the project and requested a public meeting in Rockwall County.

Stall indicated that her objections are more far-reaching than just the opposition to the project’s course through Rockwall County.

“I have a litany of objections,” Stall said. “I’m not opposed to building roads where necessary and charging tolls where approved by the community.”

Rockwall County residents in opposition to RCA No. 5 were in support of RCA Nos. 1 to 4, which would take the project west outside of Fort Worth.

The TTC-35 project would be 1,200 feet wide if roads, rail and a utility corridor are located adjacent to each other. The project would be constructed over the next 50 years in projects prioritized by need.

The goal of the Tier 1 study is to narrow the study area from a 50 to 60 mile area to a 10-mile area. The RCA No. 5 was selected as the preferred option as it included 195 miles of existing highway and 214 miles of existing rail.

The RCA No. 5 would cross the southeastern edge of Dallas County and would exit the county before reaching Balch Springs. Then it turns east outside of Sunnyvale and Rowlett to cut through Rockwall County. The current I-35E dissects downtown Dallas, as does I-35W in Fort Worth. The RCA No. 5 would continue to Gainesville, where the current I-35E and I-35W merge in Denton.

Project information is available at Corridor Watch, the organization opposing the project, has information available at

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