Work on Texas 26, viewed as a potentially attractive entrance to the city, will continue, the City Council decided Tuesday, but the city would like to see the main drag built out to six lanes sooner rather than later.
The City Council voted 5-1 to have the Texas Department of Transportation go ahead with construction, but urged the state to to build the road, also known as Colleyville Boulevard, out to six lanes from John McCain Road to Brown Trail.
The original plan for the $41 million reconstruction called for four lanes plus a wide, raised, landscaped median. In those plans, Colleyville could shave the wide median for the additional lanes when traffic demanded them in the future. The council would instead like to see the six lanes built as soon as funding is available.
Councilman Chris Putnam called for the North Central Texas Council of Governments to help fund the additional lanes.
Councilwoman Carol Wollin was not at the meeting. Mayor David Kelly was the lone dissenter, because he first thought the resolution meant the city wanted six lanes or nothing. The council later clarified its intention.
Residents and businesses along Texas 26 oppose the current, four-lane plans. Business owners including Trip Buchwald have said expanding four lanes to four lanes with a median is not worth the estimated two and a half years of construction — especially if the city would have to come back later to add more lanes.
“I want progress and I want this thing to be wonderful, but I don't want to go through it twice,” said Buchwald, a resident who owns a State Farm Insurance office and shaved ice business along the thoroughfare.
Tom Aikens, who owns Next Wood Fired Bistro & Vino Bar with his wife, said he’s happy the council wants six lanes, but wants to see the council fight to remove the medians. The road now has a continuous left turn lane.
TxDOT has said it will not build the project without medians because they reduce the amount and severity of automobile accidents. The department says that projects with a daily traffic count of 20,000 or more require a raised median.
“TxDOT does not rule what happens in Colleyville,” Aikens said. “Colleyville needs to rule what goes on in Colleyville.”
The council also approved TxDOT’s Turnback Program, under which the department will fund the construction, but the city will maintain ownership of the stretch.
Once Colleyville owns the road, it could set speed limits, add traffic lights and more without state approval. The city would also have to pay for maintenance and repairs.
Colleyville’s engineers estimate that once Colleyville owns the road it will cost about $88,479 a year to maintain the street signals, and $120,000 every five years to replace the pavement markings. The engineers said it would be too difficult to estimate how much pavement maintenance and repairs would cost.
Council Chuck Mogged, who voted in favor of the Turnback Program, said he wants the city to be able to make changes when it sees fit rather than request approval from the state.
“We’re maybe not a speedboat, but we’re a lot more mobile and a lot faster,” he said. “We can make changes that are needed.”
Mayor David Kelly and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor opposed the Turnback option.
Taylor said he did not like the city having to assume the costs of maintaining the road.
“We don't know that unknown costs, it's great to say something is free today,” Taylor said. “My daddy made it clear to me, ‘Money didn’t grow on trees and nothing is ever free.’ ”
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770