By Greg Ford
Back in the early 2000s, the city of Sachse began planning to realign Merritt Road to be directly across from Woodbridge Parkway. However, over time, Sachse never got around to it — they stopped planning after local opposition grew — and officials just let the plans lay idle.
Now, they’re getting brushed off for another go-around, one in which officials hope to finally start working on the nearly $4.8 million project that the city believes is needed to handle increased traffic and provide a safer route.
“It’s been in the planning stages for a long time,” said Greg Peters, Sachse’s Director of Public Works and Engineering. “We did a preliminary engineering (rendering) for it, so we got a rough layout. One of the big things we had to look at was the creek that crossed under the road, and figuring how to handle that … Basically, several years ago, that project went on hold. It was met with a lot of opposition from the folks who live in that area.”
The city council then decided, Peters said, to put things on hold and reallocate funds to another project over at Bunker Hill Road. Currently, the realignment is No. 2 on the Public Works department’s list of needed Capital Improvement Projects for Fiscal Year 2018, with No. 1 being the widening of Sachse Road and Fifth Street. The realignment also is part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, and is considered necessary to assist in developing areas along the President George Bush Turnpike. City council members are scheduled to hear the proposal at their Aug. 7 meeting.
“This project, and why it’s so important, is you have an offset intersection with Woodbridge Parkway,” Peters said, “and also the traffic volume going through there is going up and up and up. More people from Wylie are taking that route to get to the George Bush (Turnpike), and it’s just creating (problems) to where we have to do some road improvements there.”
The proposed realignment would shift nearly 1,000 feet of Merritt Road westward to be directly across from Woodbridge Parkway, and install a traffic signal at the updated intersection. Also, that stretch of Merritt will be turned into four lanes, and the new intersection will be widened to accommodate turn lanes, Peters said.
“Safety is a concern,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of folks who have run off (Merritt Road). They come down … and because it’s a two-lane asphalt road, they drive off into the creek. It’s really a bad situation … By realigning it, we would build it with concrete, curb and gutter and it would be a lot safer.”
Plans call for funding to be allocated in FY 2018, with the actual construction continuing through the next fiscal year, Peters said. A portion of the funding could come from the excess balance in the general fund, he said, with other monies coming out of current tax revenue. As for the effects on traffic, there will have to be some rerouting of it while construction is underway.
“There are some options,” he said. “We could try to work with the city of Wylie to divert some traffic to Pleasant Valley (Road) for a brief period of time. Those plans are something we would identify in detail during (the final plans).”