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DALLAS Dallas is one step closer to a massive toll road more than a decade in the making.

The Trinity Parkway is planned as a six-lane, nine-mile stretch of toll road linking Southeast Dallas to Northwest Dallas from U.S. 175 to Interstate 35E.

Voters approved the bond issue for the $246 million project in January 1998. But some didn't realize the complexities of a plan that will totally remake the area.

'We had no earthly idea that no other city in this country had tried to put together flood control, transportation and recreation,' said Craig Holcomb, executive director of the Trinity Commons Foundation.

On Monday, the city's Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee members heard the final environmental impact statement.

'The Trinity Parkway is a part of a solution to that problem,' Holcomb said. 'It will carry 200,000 vehicles a day, and is by far the cheapest way to do this because the city already owns the land.'

But sixteen years after voters initially approved it, some still call the toll road unnecessary.

'Some of us believe that the best way to move forward on this project is to not move forward at all,' said Dallas City Council member Sandy Greyson.

Greyson is advocating against the new road, saying it's a terrible idea. Her main concern building a highway parallel to a crucial waterway.

'Probably the better question is: Do you build this road in-between the levees in an area that is used as a floodway to remove our flood waters from this city? Do you really want to put a road in the levees?' Greyson asked.

While opinions on the project vary, the final call will come from Washington. The Federal Highway Administration will decide if the project gets the green light later this year.

A public hearing to discuss the Trinity Parkway will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, 650 South Griffin Street. Staffers will be available to answer questions at an open house that starts at 5 o'clock.

E-mail srobertson@wfaa.com

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