The $38.2 million Colleyville Boulevard widening project has already caused its share of headaches for drivers, but the worst may be yet to come.
Several major intersections will be shut down so the contractor, Jagoe Public Co., can prepare for a traffic shift during the transition period on Colleyville Boulevard, also known as Texas 26.
The main artery through the city, Colleyvilled Boulevard carries more than 25,000 cars a day and is being widened from four lanes to six lanes with a center median.
The road also is a main artery for several Northeast Tarrant County cities, including Grapevine, Southlake, Hurst and Bedford. It’s also a regional connector with junctions at Loop 820, Texas 121 and Texas 114.
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A painful process is in store
“We’re a bedroom community and there’s not other roads to offload this traffic to,” said Colleyville Councilman Mike Taylor. “We have been getting deluged by people who are hammering and hammering on us, and we don’t have answers to give them.”
Colleyville leaders pushed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representatives for answers at the Jan. 10 City Council meeting.
The project contractor has finished the majority of the paving for the new southbound lanes, so the next step will be to shift southbound traffic over to the new pavement.
“After the traffic switch, southbound will be on the new pavement and northbound will be on existing pavement,” said Minh Tran, area engineer for TxDOT. “That way they can work on the inside lanes and median.”
But the new pavement is much higher than the old pavement, up to 3 feet in some places, so the contractor has to create a transition area at all the major intersections, Tran said. That means the contractor will have to shut down the intersections — prohibiting left turns — during the transition, which is expected to be completed in February.
Colleyville officials have been meeting with the contractor and TxDOT to come up with the best way to handle the transition, and the plans are still conceptual.
“That will be painful — business will feel that, citizens will feel that,” said Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton. “There will be a good amount of detouring that will have to happen.”
Councilman Bobby Lindamood said he slogs through the construction when he drops his children off for school and fears this upcoming transition period could drag on much longer than anticipated.
He suggested the contractor work 24 hours a day over a weekend to get all the work done quickly without affecting rush hour. The potential threat of an ice storm in January or February also looms. Council members said they don’t want inclement weather to stop work while an intersection is already closed.
City officials met with TxDOT officials Tuesday, Jan. 16, to talk about timing and execution of the intersection closures.
After completing the intersection work, the contractor will move to Phase 2 of the project, which is expected to take seven months to complete.
The work is expected to progress from north to south. Work will be completed in sections, one at a time, Tran said. The sections are, in order:
- Tinker Road, Hardage Lane and Hall Johnson Road.
- Church Street and Main Street.
- Pleasant Run Road, Village Lane, Old Glade Road, Glade Road, Centerpark Drive and Mill Valley Drive.
In many cases, drivers will have to take detours by making a U-turn, as they won’t be able to make a left turn onto their street during the closures.
Phases 3 and 4 are scheduled to take eight months and five months, respectively. That puts the project completion on pace to end in December 2019, Tran said.
The contractor is still on pace to get a $400,000 bonus for completing Phase 1 during the allotted time, he said. If one of the phases takes longer than anticipated, the contractor could be fined $3,500 a day.
Brace for coming closures
Business owners along Colleyville Boulevard are frustrated with the construction already and dread the intersection closures to come.
Fusion Whole Body Recovery, just south of Hardage Lane, had growth in 2017, but the construction has made it difficult for clients to get into the parking lot, said owner Jenn Duranczyk.
It’s especially a concern for the Fusion’s elderly clients.
“Having to figure out construction could be dangerous for them and it can add a lot of time to the commute,” Duranczyk said. “We definitely took a hit.”
Next door, Robin Vander Stoep, owner of Furniture Consignment, said the driveway has been relocated several times since construction began, and it’s currently only wide enough for one vehicle. On top of that, it’s difficult for drivers to see it.
“By the time you see it, you’ve missed it and you have to turn around,” she said. “TxDOT chose not to slow down the traffic during the construction. People are flying, they’re doing 50 mph to 55 mph. We see it all the time.”
Vander Stoep said she already has had customers who give up because they can’t find the back way into the shopping center.
“When they shut those roads down I might as well close my doors because there’s going to be no way for people to get in,” Vander Stoep said. “We get people from McKinney coming out here. It’s not just local people.”
She praised Lindamood’s proposal to have the intersection work condensed into weekend jobs.
The city offers emails and text alerts for traffic updates, road closures and other major changes to Colleyville Boulevard. For project information, visit www.colleyville.com/txdot-sh26-project.html.