Rockwall works with state officials to address Hwy 205/John King Bypass route

(ROCKWALL, TX – April 29, 2015) Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt, Councilman David White, and Rockwall City Staff recently traveled to Austin to meet with legislators about transportation issues and, specifically, city concerns about State Highway 205 (SH-205).  SH-205 is the primary north/south roadway in Rockwall, moving approximately 20,000 vehicles per day through downtown.

“I have spoken to many residents about the traffic on SH-205”, said Mayor Pruitt.  “They are especially concerned about the gridlock that keeps them from getting into their neighborhoods on a daily basis.  A large amount of the traffic causing that gridlock is passing directly through Rockwall on SH-205.  We would like the state to consider helping us re-route this traffic.”

Mayor Pruitt and Councilman White discussed swapping the city’s ownership of John King Boulevard for the present SH-205 which would then become a Rockwall city street.  “John King was originally built to be a bypass for traffic.  We discussed the history of the project with legislators and highlighted the benefits to both sides of such a swap,” said Councilman White.  Legislators were receptive to the proposal and agreed to begin discussions with the Texas Department of Transportation about a possible deal.

City officials became concerned when they heard that the state was considering a study to expand SH-205 to a six-lane highway.  This plan would require many businesses, homes and land be acquired by the state, which could negatively impact the neighborhoods north of downtown as well as requiring the relocation of many established businesses.  Officials believe that the “John King Bypass Route” offers less disruption to properties along the existing SH-205 route and maximizes use of the existing right-of-way already purchased along this route.

Moving forward, the Rockwall City Council approved a resolution last week endorsing the Texas Department of Transportation’s decision to study improvements of SH-205 from SH-78 in Collin County, through Rockwall to US-80 in Kaufman County. The resolution is designed to formally request state consideration of the John King Bypass route.

“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Mayor Pruitt.  “Less traffic through downtown and we save many homes and businesses. The state will save millions in property acquisition costs.  I look forward to continuing to work with state officials to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution.”

Submitted by Joey Boyd, Director of Internal Operations, City of Rockwall.

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