Officials pledge focus on widening 377
They know U.S. 377 is a growing problem, and local, state and regional officials are committed to fixing it.
That was the gist of a press release issued by the city on Friday.
Local officials that include Mayor Nin Hulett and County Judge Ron Massingill are working with the Fort Worth District office of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) to push for the widening of 377 through the busiest part of town to be included in TxDOT’s Unified Transportation Program (UTP), the press release stated.
The project was not on the recently released UTP list, to the surprise and dismay of city officials.
Growing traffic problems are made more of a concern because the U.S. Census Bureau recently determined that Hood County is the ninth fastest-growing county in the nation.
The UTP is a 10-year plan, but it is updated annually. That means that projects, such as the widening of 377 in Granbury, can be submitted for consideration as part of the next funding cycle associated with the planning process.
Hulett pledged to make sure that citizens’ comments about the project “are heard at the highest level of Tx-DOT.”
Several years ago, local officials agreed that the two highest priority local projects were the widening of U.S. 377 in Granbury and the U.S. 377 Relief Route in Cresson.
Granbury and Hood County officials worked with TxDOT representatives on a funding strategy, which included Hood County voters approving county transportation bonds to help provide local funds for the projects.
With both projects being costly to taxpayers, it was determined that they could not advance simultaneously.
At the request of local leaders at the time, TxDOT first focused on the U.S. 377 Cresson Relief Route, which recently began construction.
The Cresson intersection, where there is a railway switching yard, was determined to be the biggest traffic problem at the time.
With construction of the bypass now under way, the widening of 377 in Granbury is the top priority.
According to the city, the next steps include TxDOT developing the needed schematic documents to obtain environmental clearance of the project.
The first key milestone, set for early 2020, is 30% completion of the schematics, the press release stated.
Part of this work will involve identifying segments that might be accelerated as funding becomes available, such as the U.S. 377/SH 144 intersection and the U.S. 377/Business 377 intersection.