County Commissioner update

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This month’s column will cover I-35 W improvements, a major purchase by Commissioners Court, county road safety legislation pending in Austin, plus other tidbits of information from your Denton County Commissioners’ Court.

Crawford Road “coalition” moving forward

I am so pleased to report that the three entities who are involved in the Crawford Road project – City of Denton, Town of Argyle and Denton County – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the scope and responsibilities of the project. The City of Denton is providing a traffic and feasibility study, the Town of Argyle will manage and oversee the construction and then take responsibility for maintenance when it’s complete and Denton County is providing $2 million for the project.

The first steps have thus been taken, and the next steps will include designing and engineering for the project, any necessary right-of-way acquisition, requesting bids and finally awarding the contract. I will be closely watching this process and giving “encouragement” as needed to keep it moving along. Will keep you posted!

TxDOT plans May 16 meeting on I-35W changes

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing new north bound and south bound lanes on Interstate 35 West. To explain its plans, TxDOT has scheduled a public meeting from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on May 16, at Argyle Middle School, 6601 Canyon Falls Drive.

The public is encouraged to provide comments on these proposed improvements to Interstate 35-West from Dale Earnhardt Way to the I-35E/I-35W merge in Denton.

TxDOT and project consultants will be available to answer questions about the 12.3-mile project which includes building two-lane northbound and southbound frontage roads with sidewalks, taking I-35W over FM 1171, Old Justin Road and John Paine Road/Allred Road interchanges as well as changing the I-35W ramp configuration similar to what was done on I-35E.

Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or mailed to the TxDOT Dallas District Office, Attention: Nelson Underwood, P.E., 4777 E. Highway 80, Mesquite, TX 75150-6643 or by email addressed to [email protected]. Comments will be accepted for 15 calendar days after the May 16 meeting.

Denton County purchases building from Sally Beauty

Denton County population continues to grow at a fast rate – among the top ten fastest in the U.S. – necessitating increased services throughout county government. With an eye toward efficient service to its residents, Denton County recently purchased the Sally Beauty Holdings building at 3900 Morse St. in Denton for about $12 million.

We acquired the 114,062-square-foot distribution center with an eye toward saving taxpayers millions of dollars due to the proximity to our existing buildings, delaying the need for some new construction. This facility is large enough to accommodate multiple departments and immediate growth needs, such as secure document storage, which is a current challenge for the county. In addition to the building and fixtures, the 13.3 acres that come with the county’s purchase will be available for future growth needs.

Thank you to task force meeting attendees

Our first task force meeting, revived in April at the Southwest Courthouse, was a big success with more than 60 community leaders attending. Everyone from engineers to mayors to private citizens enjoyed receiving updates on current area road projects and networking. We also featured updates from four of our 18 Precinct 4 communities: Dish, Justin, Krum and Northlake.

My staff and I plan to hold these task force meetings quarterly and will keep you posted. The public is always welcome to attend.

Street lights/illumination legislation on the move

When the Court was compiling its legislative agenda, I suggested that we ask the legislature for a change in the law currently prohibiting counties from installing street lights in the unincorporated areas. Such lighting might have prevented a number of accidents, including some fatal ones, and the Court agreed to add this issue.

We were pleased that Rep. Tan Parker sponsored House Bill 3714 to request the jurisdictional authority for counties to place streetlights in county rights of way to improve safety and security for the traveling public within the county road system. We explained that lighting improves safety and enhances visibility on “S” curves or on wet roads. This request followed a recent incident in which two teen-age brothers died after their car veered from a Denton County Road into a nearby creek. If passed, this bill will allow the county to improve safety measures with lighting where significant need exists.

Contact Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson at 972-434-3960 or [email protected], where you can request to be placed on her email newsletter updates. Her office is located in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900, in Flower Mound.