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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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Local County Officials Debate Expansion Plan

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Ellis County property owners attending the meeting lined up to address their elected officials | Image by NBC DFW

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Responding to a population increase and transportation woes, Ellis County officials met last Tuesday to discuss and decide on a long-established plan to expand roadway development from east to west in order to better move an influx of people.

However, with much concern being voiced by residents at Tuesday’s County Commissioners Court meeting, leaders opted to temporarily table the vote until December 13.

As NBC-DFW reported, property owners attending the meeting lined up to address their elected officials. They pleaded with them not to destroy their way of life, saying, “Us as Texans, we love our land. Our land is so important to our homes, our families.”

Nearly two dozen individuals asked their elected officials not to move the expansion of FM 1387 south of its current location, calling urban planners out for only caring about mobility.

Vickie Dillow, one of the dozens of people who live adjacent to a proposed southern alignment that would replace a tree line with a road, fears the change of ecosystem would not only alter the aesthetic but also create an unsafe environment for families along the strip of road.

“It affords us privacy and quiet and peaceful living that so many of us moved here for,” Dillow went on to say, lobbying against the change.

While the physical aspect of the change is substantial, others cast doubts over the cost of the project and the potential for drainage issues. However, on this particular point, county commissioners insisted that they had been preparing for an extension of the FM 1387 since the early 2000s, a project called the Thoroughfare Plan.

The Thoroughfare Plan would turn the existing two-lane roadway into a four-lane urban roadway —with the option of eventually expanding to six lanes — to improve mobility from east to west.

However, another possibility also exists for the county: an expansion to the north. This would follow the existing alignment, but other property holders to the north are opposing it, as their properties would be flanked by a new busy thoroughfare.

Director of Planning and Development, Alberto Mares, defended the plan to expand, justifying it as a need, saying, “People are going to get impacted one way or another. Our job as urban planners, we must think into the future.”

With its easy access to I-35, county commissioners told residents on Tuesday that the southern route is the one that they are indeed favoring, NBC-DFW reported.

Yet their decision to delay the vote and revisit the discussion on December 13 will give more time to all whose lives could be impacted by the Thoroughfare Plan to weigh in on what comes next for their community.

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