KELLER — A final public hearing was recently held in Keller, giving residents a last chance to voice opinions about $29 million in proposed road improvements, which could result in a November bond election.The Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee’s May 14 meeting began with an open mic session for residents to discuss any of the 14 road improvements being reviewed by the committee, which include councilmen John Hoffmann, committee chairman; and Gary Reaves, committee vice chairman, and citizens John Baker, Greg Kocian, Beth Kwasny, Ken Lewis, Trent Petty, Ed Speakmon and Jim Thompson.“The City Council, working with city staff, looked at some projects that we thought needed consideration,” Hoffmann said during opening remarks. “But rather than just making a decision on its own, the City Council did the right thing in my opinion and formed this advisory committee to talk to and listen to the citizens.”The committee was charged by council to hear citizen input and make a recommendation back to council, who will then accept or reject any recommendations and return the decision back to the voters.“We’re here tonight to listen,” Hoffmann said. “It’s democracy at its finest and we’re glad to be here.”About a dozen people spoke at the hearing with concerns about road widening, roundabouts versus traffic signals, cross walks, tree preservation, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.After the public hearing, committee members started discussions about which projects they would recommend, or not, and which projects need further discussion.The committee determined that one road improvement item, Wall-Price Keller Road Widening (US 377 to Whitley Road), will stay on the list for recommendation.Also remaining on the list are four intersection improvements: Keller-Smithfield Road at Johnson Road; Keller-Smithfield Road at Bear Creek Parkway; FM 1709 at Rufe Snow Drive (dual left turn lanes); and FM 1709 at Keller-Smithfield Road (dual left turn lanes).Road improvements to be discussed at the next meeting include Rufe Snow Drive Widening (FM 1709 to Johnson Road); Lamar Street/Pecan Street; and Olive Street/Elm Street/Pecan Street. Two intersection improvements to be discussed further include Bear Creek Parkway at Elm Street/Whitley Road; and Rapp Road at Whitley Road.The committee determined the following projects are no longer under consideration as proposed : Rapp Road Realignment at Rufe Snow Drive and Shady Grove Road (the four lane, original version); Rapp Road extension to US 377; Shady Grove Road expansion (Rufe Snow Drive to Smithfield Road) as originally proposed; and Keller-Smithfield road widening (Bear Run to Shady Grove Road) as originally proposed.The following items are alternate proposals for further consideration at the next meeting: Realigning Rapp Road as two lanes instead of four; improving Shady Grove to three lanes in front of the school; and considering widening Keller Smithfield to three lanes.“I think we’ve made extraordinary progress,” Hoffmann said. “I’m very pleased. We are further along than I had hoped we would be tonight.”The next committee meeting is scheduled for May 23. A final recommendation will be made to council in June.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1