Weatherford Democrat

Local News

April 7, 2006

Environmental study released; Trans-Texas Corridor leans east of Metroplex

Galen Scott

gscott@weatherforddemocrat.com

An environmental impact study released Tuesday indicates the most likely route of the Trans-Texas Corridor will travel east of Dallas, but a new rail proposition could bring TTC-35 infrastructure to East Parker County as well.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the narrowed eastern study area was identified as the preferred corridor alternative because it best supports the purpose and need for TTC-35.

“The ultimate goal of TTC-35 is to relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 35,” said Gabriela Garcia, TxDOT public affairs specialist.

The east corridor alternative also incorporates the most miles of existing highways and rail – 195 and 214 miles respectively.

Cintra Zachry, the firm hired to plan the TTC-35, announced a proposal last month to add a rail line around southwest Fort Worth. The rail line would divert heavy rail traffic at Tower 55, the Downtown switch yard visible form Interstate 30, and could eventually be accompanied by a toll road looping the southwestern edge of the city.

The proposed rail line would connect to the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $6 billion commuter, freight and utility line mega-project running the length of Texas, beginning at the Mexican border in Laredo and extending to Oklahoma.

In a February 24 Weatherford Democrat article, TxDOT regional engineer Jimmey Bodiford said freight and rail segments of the TTC-35 could affect residents of Parker and Palo Pinto Counties sooner than areas chosen for new passenger traffic infrastructure.

Bodiford may not have been too far off the mark.

Malcolm Louden, president of Walsh Holdings, said he didn’t know anything about the new rail line until Wednesday.

Louden’s group recently announced plans to build 14,000 homes on a 72-acre development, the majority of which is located in East Parker County. He agreed the rail line could intersect the billion dollar planned community.

A meeting took place Friday morning in which Louden said he met with Secretary of State Roger Williams and Burlington Northern Santa Fe CEO Matthew Rose.

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