After construction began at the end of June 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation said the Farm-to-Market Road 51 North project is still on track to be completed this summer.
“Work is ongoing on the project to repave and add turn lanes to FM 51 from the Union Pacific Railroad crossing, just north of U.S. 180, to the Clear Fork Trinity River,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Bethany Kurtz said. “Crews are currently working on widening FM 51 at the intersections where turn lanes will be added.”
Residents along a two-mile stretch of FM 51 North, between Weatherford and Springtown, began advocating for change after multiple fatality accidents occurred — at least five between January and December of 2019.
Ashley James created a Facebook group “Safety is No Accident: Widen North 51” in an attempt to get construction started. The group currently has 1,100 members.
“I am pleased work is being done on FM 51 North — construction is never fun but it does cause traffic to slow down and pay attention. All workers have been very professional, helpful and friendly. We see them out most days making progress adding turn lanes, widening the shoulder areas and getting the paint stripes down,” James said. “As a community, we were hoping for speed limit reductions, flashing lights and a widening on both sides of the road; however, the improvements we have received were needed as well.”
The $8 million project includes repaving the roadway and the addition of turn lanes at four intersections — North Bend Road, a southbound center left turn only lane and northbound right turn only lane; Stonebridge Court, a southbound center left turn only lane and northbound right turn only lane; Old Agnes Road/Old Springtown Road, right turn only lanes in both directions; and Friendship Road, a northbound right turn only lane.
“The project remains on target and weather permitting, it is still scheduled for completion this summer,” Kurtz said. “This project will enhance mobility and safety along an important Parker County corridor.”
James said no matter how many improvements are made, the road is still far from safe.
“We still have a long road to go, so we will keep after our local and state officials. We want to keep asking our community to be mindful when traveling FM 51 North — no matter how many improvements this road receives, it is far from safe,” James said. “Please keep your head up and stay within the speed limit. Too many lives have been taken as a combination of poor driving and poor road planning.”