As Grayson County prepares for expected exponential growth over the next several decades, the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority held a meeting with large landholders to discuss the upcoming thoroughfare plan for future transportation growth in Grayson County.
About 40 owners of 500 acres or more attended the event that was designed to both gather feedback and inform large property owners of the changes in roadways that might be coming in the future. The RMA sent about 130 invitations to the event, said Terry Morrow, administrative assistant with the RMA.
The RMA contracted University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Urban and Public Affairs to oversee the creation of the plan. Through these meetings, and data collected from them, the school hopes to get an overview of where current and future development within the county lies and where would best for future roadway development and expansion, including the proposed expansion of the Dallas North Tollway into Grayson.
“Through this we will be able to generate a map of properties throughout the county,” said Alan Klein, assistant director of UTA’s School of Urban and Public Affairs.
By 2050, Grayson County is expected to grow to at least 200,000 residents, with higher populations possible, said Nikka Lemons, with the UTA study. In explaining the potential growth, and need for transit expansions, Lemons referenced the exponential growth within Denton and Collin counties over the past decade. Lemons said as the population grows north of Dallas, some roadways could see a traffic growth of up to 28 percent, with congestion focused along the U.S. Highway 75 corridor. This estimation comes without the expansion of the DNT.
Gunter Mayor Don Anderson attended the meeting, and showcased plans the city has made for its internal thoroughfare system in preparation for the nearby DNT expansion. Anderson said he has heard predictions that the expansion could bring tremendous growth to the small town, bringing it closer in size to its larger neighbors.
“It has a major developmental impact on my town,” said Anderson.
Anderson said this series of meetings was important because the larger landholders are the ones who hold the land that will likely be used for future roadway projects. Furthermore, he said, it is critical for community leaders to remain updated on the status of the project.
“If I know about (the thoroughfare plan) I can talk intelligently and insightfully to investors and other business leaders about it,” said Anderson, referring to the DNT extension.
Despite the focus on north and south traffic to and from the Dallas area, some landholders referenced a need to keep a priority on east and west routes, primarily as routes across Grayson County and to neighboring Cooke and Fannin counties. Likewise, landholders at the meeting expressed interest in alternative transit routes as alternatives to 75 and the DNT, including a possible extension of Highway 121 and a proposed extension of Preston Road.
The RMA is holding a second meeting, which is open to the general public, on Feb. 27 at Grayson College, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.