Regional Transportation Council Allocates $8M to Hunt County
The Regional Transportation Council on Thursday allocated $8.3 million to the expansion of Farm-to-Market 1570 and State Highway 34, two projects considered key to Hunt County’s future.
FM 1570 will be extended from State Highway 66 to US Highway 380. Preliminary engineering for the 1.72-mile FM 1570 project is under way. Right-of-way acquisition will begin next fiscal year, and utility work will start in fiscal year 2015, with construction slated for FY 2016.
The extension of FM 1570, which will receive about $6.8 million in federal and state funding, will provide another travel option allowing traffic to move into and through the county more efficiently.
This roadway could eventually form a partial loop around Greenville, providing smoother traffic flow for trucks and other traffic. Leaders will rely on a thoroughfare plan developed by the Hunt County Transportation Committee after a two-year planning effort by the North Central Texas Council of Governments to assess the county’s transportation needs.
The committee was made up of city, county and business leaders from around Hunt County, with technical assistance provided by the Texas Department of Transportation and NCTCOG.
The thoroughfare plan is part of the broader Hunt County Transportation Plan, which also contains transit and bicycle-pedestrian elements.
The county’s transportation plan allows officials to make educated decisions because they now have objective data to guide them, County Judge John Horn said “We had a lot of passion projects, but didn’t have a lot of objective criteria to evaluate the need,”
Horn said. “The planning NCTCOG helped us with gives us more of that objective data we need in order to prioritize and move forward with the implementation of a long-term vision.”
Next on the list is a 19-mile stretch of SH 34 from Interstate Highway 30 to County Road 2312, which will be widened from two lanes to five lanes. SH 34 intersects with other roads in downtown Greenville.
Its eventual expansion will help the increasing traffic move more efficiently through town and on to other points in the region. Preliminary engineering for this project is expected to begin next fiscal year. About $1.5 million in federal and state funding has been set aside for the project, but more money will be required as the roadway moves closer to construction.
As is true across the rest of North Texas, Hunt County is growing, requiring the examination of its current infrastructure and future needs. Hunt County’s population was 87,290 in January 2012, 0.5 percent more than the previous year, according to NCTCOG’s latest population estimates.
The study helped officials realize Hunt County is a “gateway to the east,” Horn said. Not only are people trying to get to Dallas and Fort Worth through Hunt County, but they are traveling east through the county from the metropolitan core, and this requires reliable transportation options.
The county wants to maintain the transportation plan so it can guide leaders toward necessary transportation improvements as new residents and jobs arrive.
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development.
NCTCOG's purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.