CELINA - A North Texas road construction project could forever change two Collin County towns known for their quaint country living.
The widening of Preston Road from U.S. Highway 380 to the Grayson County line is expected to create a population and business boom for Prosper and Celina. However, the project is bringing both excitement and concern.
Steve Morakabian opened an auto repair shop on Preston Road in Celina. He knows an improved highway will eventually bring in more customers, but he's concerned construction over the next three years will create access problems.
“We just hope that's not going to affect us that much,”Morakabian said. “But, I guess we just have to tough it out. It's just a matter of time."
The dust is already flying just north of 380. The plan is to build a four-lane divided highway through Prosper and Celina to Grayson County. Drivers hope it will relieve the current two-lane traffic nightmares.
"There are very few passing zones available,” said Keith Cole, who lives in Celina. “So, it can be very frustrating driving down that area right now. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing that road expanded."
Former Mayor Corbett Howard, who now serves as Celina's economic development chief, predicts his town of 8,000 people will become the next Frisco, only bigger.
"It's going to open us up for all kinds of commercial retail,” Howard said. “I think it will open us up for business expansion."
Morakabian fears three years of road work could hurt business. But, he said any bumps in the road now will lead to more traffic at his front door.
"There are a lot of open fields around us,” Morakabian said. “And we're hoping by widening the road, it's going to draw bigger companies like Home Depot and Walmart to move up here with more rooftops, and basically, will help the economy."