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Local News

February 6, 2014

I-30 complaints shift to service roads, exit signage

Exits and service roads are among the recent topics of concern involving the Interstate 30 overpass construction project in Royse City.

During the Jan. 28 meeting of the Royse City Community Development Corporation’s Board of Directors, Executive Director Larry Lott reported on concerns about signage that didn’t clearly direct eastbound motorists off I-30 to FM 548, the one-way service road in front of the McDonald’s restaurant and the exit near Omi Crane Sytems.

A circulation road that would give motorists easier access to Royse City Heath and Rehabilitation Center and Royse City Medical Clinic was also discussed again. How the $685,000 project would be funded continues to be the issue.

Because recent issues with the overpass project involve existing businesses, Lott said “we certainly have a commitment to try to help those folks out.

“We’re spending a lot of time right now trying to help those folks out,” he said. “Hopefully, it works and everybody ends up happy,”

Lott told directors that he has been “flooded” with calls from business people since the FM 548 exit was closed. He said “anybody and everybody has said, ‘What are you doing? You’re killing us here.”

The problem was with exit ramp signage.

“Apparently, the signage is not real good,” Lott said. “The new exit ramp that’s open at Erby Campbell (Boulevard) is not identified that if you want to go to 548 you exit now.”

So, he said, eastbound motorists have either continued on or they take the FM 35 exit and come back to FM 548.

The problem apparently has been corrected with a flashing digital sign that states, “FM 548 Royse City Exit Now.”

Lott said he is also attempting to get the blue highway sign that lists food and lodging opportunities moved from the old FM 548 exit to the new location.

“Anyway, we’re doing everything we can possibly think of to help the businesses downtown,” Lott said, adding later that “taking care of existing businesses is part of what we need to be aware of and help with.”

The north service road that recently was converted to one-way westward from FM 548 has caused some problems for customers leaving the McDonald’s restaurant.

“That has almost caused major wrecks because nobody wants that to be one-way and they still turn left to go back to the intersection (at FM 548),” Lott said.

Signs have been posted to tell motorists that traffic is one way to the west. Also, orange barrels have been set up, eliminating the eastbound lane.

Months ago, the McDonald’s owner constructed a circulation road that takes customers from the restaurant, behind the Shell station to FM 548 (Elm Street).

The issue involving Omi is the plan to build the new FM 548 exit just west of the facility at 1515 E. I-30.

The problem is that trucks require some maneuvering room on the service road when longer cranes are being shipped out.

“Those trucks can’t turn like a car and stay in the right-hand lane,” Lott said. “They have to do some maneuvering, especially with the longer cranes.”

He said Omi ships about 15 cranes a month that are considered longer -- more than 40 feet long.

Here’s the current, temporary plan:

When Omi plans to ship a crane that’s 40-plus feet long, a company representative will call the police chief. A patrol car will block the exit ramp until the truck is out of the roadway. He said it takes three to five minutes to “get the trucks out and get them going.”

Part of a “more permanent” plan involves extending the double-white stripe “you’re not supposed to cross” from 80 feet to 160 feet. If motorists exiting the interstate stay on their side of the double line, they will not merge onto the service road until they are past the crucial location at Omi.

Also, Lott said, Omi is considering a “drive cut” that would allow trucks to angle in and create a “swing radius” that would allow the rigs easier access onto the service road.

The project would need to be approved by the Texas Department of Transportation. Oncor Electric Delivery would also have to grant permission to relocate a utility pole for the project.

“It’s not a simple fix, not a cheap fix, but again, Omi is a huge contributor to our sales tax and an absolutely great corporate citizen,” Lott told the board. “They’ve helped us a lot, so we need to do everything we can to help them.”

Lott provided the latest news involving the health-rehab center and medical clinic circulation road after a question by Dena Elder, board president.

Lott said an individual who owns property in the area contacted him recently. As a result of the visit, Lott said, “We’re going to go back and look at it.”

The affected facilities are located off the south I-30 service road between Erby Campbell Boulevard and Lesli Street.

Royse City visitors can reach the facilities by traveling through the neighborhoods to Lesli Street, which will take them to the service road. Motorists then must turn right onto the service road, which is one-way for eastbound traffic.

A longer alternative is for motorists to drive to Fate, cross over I-30 via FM 551, then head back to Royse City on the interstate or service road.

A solution that has been discussed for several months involves constructing a road that would take traffic from Erby Campbell Boulevard, behind Anita Scott Elementary School, around the health and rehab center to the west side of the facility and then to the service road.

“And the problem is, how do we get the money just to do that?” he said, adding later that “it would be great to have that, but how can we get the $685,000.”

Lott said his recent visitor agreed to talk to other affected property owners to see what commitment he can get from them regarding funding.

“It’s a tough deal,” Lott said, “and it doesn’t go away when the bridge (overpass) is finished. That happens because of the one-way service road, which is there forever.”

Lott told board members that he expects the city and possibly the CDC to eventually become financially involved in the project.

“I really believe the city will finally put some money in it and maybe we (CDC) would put some money in it, but I don’t think there’s any way we could fund the whole thing,” Lott said.

He called it a “huge” amount of money that affects only four or five property owners.

 

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