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FM 2181 widening should be complete in spring 2016

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Photo Courtesy: Guyer High School
Photo Courtesy: Guyer High School

Beth Lofland is a Guyer High School parent concerned that additional traffic a proposed apartment complex could bring to the area is not the answer to an already problematic situation.

“As a community we cannot handle any more traffic nor should the city [of Denton] be looking to approve any additional projects until the road construction and existing housing projects are completed,” she said.

Lofland is referring to Hickory Creek Ranch Apartments, a proposed 225-unit housing complex planned to be built across the street from Guyer just west of FM 2181 between Old Alton Drive and Leatherwood Lane.

In 2012, a TxDOT statewide planning map showed that 16,649 cars passed through the intersection of Old Alton road and FM 2181, going both ways, on a given date. That is the most recent figure TxDOT shows for the area.

“Traffic along Teasley from 3 o’clock on is a solid line of traffic as it is going north from 2499 – an additional lane or 2 will help to an extent but will not resolve the issue completely,” Lofland said. “If you live in a neighborhood that does not have a light to assist you getting in or out you take your life into your hands and God bless our teens – they are petrified to drive on Teasley [FM 2181] as it is.”

Guyer High has a specific traffic flow pattern, including designated student and parent entrances and exits, which it urges drivers on campus to follow.

Preliminary plans for Hickory Creek Ranch show seven main buildings, including town homes, apartments, a pool courtyard, a dog park and garages. Thomas Fletcher, attorney for the developer, said the apartments will be priced at market rates.

“In a fast growth district with road construction abounding, we always seem to have traffic issues,” said Jamie Wilson, Denton ISD superintendent. “We constantly work with local law enforcement to mitigate traffic issues at all of our campuses.

“We ask our students to carpool, stagger arrival times and other items that may decrease the amount of traffic on our roads.”

Meanwhile, some parents and area residents are doing their best to let local lawmakers know of their dissatisfaction with the proposed project.

“Many of us found out about this last month and have been emailing our council members and hopefully the [City of Denton] Planning and Zoning Commission to stop the project,” Lofland said.

“There are already a number of single family housing projects started for this area that will increase the attendance zones not only for Guyer but for Crownover and Harpool middle schools as well as possibly Nelson, Ryan, McNair, Hawk and Blanton elementary schools.

In 2013, voters in the Denton ISD approved a bond referendum including the construction of a 9th grade addition to the school. It will increase the school’s capacity to more than 3,000 students.

“We have planned for such growth in enrollment,” Wilson said, adding that trustees receive a monthly demographic growth report of the district every three months.

Meanwhile, the TxDOT is working on widening FM 2181 from a two-lane road to a six-lane divided road.

Construction is expected to be complete by March 2016.

Acquision for the right of way is complete. Design firm Huitt-Zollars is working on getting a 95 percent plan set ready to submit to TxDOT on the north-south project by the end of September, reports indicate.

Most utility relocations for the east-west segment of the project are complete. In May 2013, J.D. Abrams, L.P. was awarded a contract for the project, for just less than $24.7 million. Work will take about 416 working days and 24 months of barricades.

Work area includes FM 2181 from FM 2499 to west of the I-35E frontage road in Corinth.

For the duration, the widening project won’t stem the traffic tide around Guyer and with school back in session, parents want to make sure the best plans are in place for the safety and education of their children.

“As a school district will have little control over residential zoning, multifamily developments, single family developments, etc.,” Wilson said. “We are proactive in our planning, and our constituents are informed of such planning at our quarterly bond progress committee meetings, our board meetings and our publications.”

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