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Council approves new interchange for NFM development, SH 121
The Colony City Council voted to enter into a funding agreement with TxDOT last week that will begin construction on a new interchange at South Colony Boulevard and State Highway 121.
Construction is scheduled to begin sometime during the summer -- projections show it could be as early as June or July -- and should wrap by late 2014. Gordon Scruggs, director of engineering for the city, said the first and second phases are being constructed together.
"There will be a future Phase 3 that will include additional ramps," he said. "It is anticipated that Phase 3 will be constructed by North Texas Tollway Authority when the [SH 121] is widened to eight lanes."
City Manager Troy Powell said the ramps, or interchanges, are necessary for two main reasons: traffic from the GrandScapes Development (Nebraska Furniture Mart) will be too much for the current layout, and the ramps would open up the north side of SH 121 for future development.
When the city entered in to agreement in 2011 for development of Nebraska Furniture Mart's 431-acre site, just south of SH 121, a traffic study was conducted. The study determined an interchange is needed at South Colony Boulevard and SH 121. A team consisting of representatives from the city, North Cetnral Texas Council of Governments, NTTA, Denton County and TxDOT selected the proposed interchange design, which is a lower-cost, higher-capacity diamond interchange.
"It is common for cities to increase road infrastructure in areas of big projects to facilitate the traffic increases. In this case since it is a toll road, we worked with our partners at NTTA and the state," he said. "It has been a very quick turn around and that is thanks to the folks at NTTA, the state and the county really helping us get it moving. It was a team effort and, due to the projected traffic increases, it was an absolute necessity."
Most of the money for the project came from the state, county, NTTA and the development. The city's smaller portion is coming from EDC funding, Powell said.
NTTA will maintain the structure of the bridge and the city will maintain the surface of the road and any extras the city may add to the bridge.
"At this point there is no estimate on the extras as we don't know what they might be if any," Powell said. "On the road itself, we see it as less than $5,000 a year for the first 10 years."