DENTON COUNTY, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation is beginning a major road construction project along U.S. 380 in Denton County Monday.
The project spans a 10-mile stretch of the highway from U.S. 377 to the Collin County line at County Road 26.
"This is a big project,” TxDOT spokesperson Tony Hartzel said. “We at TxDOT need to do something to address the demands that really are already out there while also working towards the future.”
The project started the planning phase in 2016. Hartzel says the population along the corridor has grown 80% in the past decade, and that growth has meant congestion.
“It takes over an hour sometimes to get to the other end of 380 sometimes when it should be a 15 minute,” Erin McCoy, who’s lived in the area seven years said. “The growth is so fast.”
Over the past year, crews have already started work on 377, just east of the future project. The $140 million of improvements to 380 are expected to take three years to complete.
“The work needs to be done. It does, but three years? That’s a little excessive,” McCoy said.
The project will widen 380 to three lanes on both sides and also elevate the highway over five different intersections so drivers can avoid stoplights.
Frontage roads will have improved intersections and turn lanes to help separate and move traffic, too.
In the first year of the project, all traffic will be on the north side of the highway and moved to the south side in the second year.
“We really need the public’s patience and understanding and support,” Hartzell said.
“This may be my last trip over in this area for a while once they start that,” Ron Brazell, who lives in Prosper, said.
Brazell said while it’ll be painful, the project is needed.
“The traffic situation is really bad and it’s just going to get worse and worse and worse,” he said. “At some juncture what you kind of have to do is control the development and they’re not doing that.”
The other factor behind the project is safety. In May, three people were killed, and three others injured in a crash along the highway. The new work will also address the lack of a median and sidewalks.
“It’s known for being death row because no one really obeys any of the signs,” McCoy said.
Hartzel says projects are planned to have a life of 25 years of growth. The hope is the once completed, the orange cones and congestion can stay in the rear view.