Answers to FAQs about pending SH 205 improvements in Rockwall

(ROCKWALL, TX – July 18, 2016) The Texas Department of Transportation recently held two informational public meetings in the area about pending improvements to State Highway 205, and hundreds of Rockwall residents attended to learn more. After the meetings, some questions still persisted, and below is a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions.

To provide input on this issue, TxDOT requests written public comments that must be submitted by this Friday, July 22. Click here for the link to the comment form.

Frequently Asked Questions about the SH 205 / John King Bypass 

Q: Was John King always planned to be a bypass?

A: It has been shown on planning documents as a 6-lane roadway as early as June 1984, and has served as a bypass route since the initial 4-lane section was built. TxDOT and Rockwall County built an overpass at its intersection with I-30. A project to reverse the I-30 entrance/exit ramps is also currently underway.

Q: Goliad will be expanded by the City to how many lanes if SH 205 is moved to John King Boulevard?

A: It will likely need to be expanded to four lanes to meet the 2040 traffic volumes. The actual lane configuration has not been determined at this time. It could be four lanes (two in each direction) with a continuous left turn lane from the downtown area to north John King Boulevard. Final design, scheduling, phasing and financing plans have not been completed.

Q: Will any money exchange between the City and TxDOT to make it an equal value trade?

A: Every TxDOT roadway project done in Rockwall has included some level of joint participation involving use of federal, state, county and local money. It is anticipated there will be consideration for use of some local funds associated with the SH 205 project regardless of which route is selected. However, no participation levels have been established.

Q: Will there be some design control to be sure setbacks are preserved and appropriate berms and such can be installed to buffer John King Boulevard from neighborhoods?

A: The City would have the option to consider pursuing landscape, hardscape and/or roadway lighting enhancements. At the time when the SH 205 project is funded, TxDOT may or may not have programs available for their financial participation in such enhancements if these enhancements are pursued by the City. At this point, the City has not considered any enhancements.  

Q: Will lights and crosswalks be installed at the major cross streets? 

A: TxDOT generally provides crosswalks at major intersections. TxDOT provides and pays for signalization at intersections that meet “warrants” as provided in their policies. If warrants are met, signalization is provided. If warrants are not met, TxDOT prohibits signalization.  

Q: Why would TxDOT choose John King Boulevard if it’s $20m+ more than widening existing SH 205? 

A: The City has selected its preferred route. TxDOT will be making its decision as to the State’s “technically preferred route.” TxDOT has held public meetings to receive additional public input. They will likely include such factors as public input, City input, design, ability to move traffic through the City and along the route, and cost in their selection of the technically preferred route. With that said, TxDOT is a better source to answer questions about the course of action they may choose. 

Q: Why did the City allow residential development along John King Boulevard if they knew it was the preferred route for SH 205 or even a distinct possibility?

A: The City of Rockwall Comprehensive Plan does not envision development that will result in all major roadways being lined with “strip” retail or commercial properties. Residential properties currently abut several major thoroughfares and state roadways, such as FM 740, SH 276, and FM 3097.

Q: Are there Citywide and/or Countywide traffic studies and projections?

A: North Central Texas Council of Governments studied the major arterials for 2040 in Rockwall and Rockwall County in 2015. 

Q: Will sound walls be included in the project?

A: The TxDOT policy for sound walls includes study of this issue as environmental studies are done. TxDOT policy provides a “warrant” system for determining if sound walls are needed and will be effective. If sound walls are warranted in accordance with the TxDOT requirements, TxDOT will hold a meeting with owners of property which abuts the right-of-way. At this meeting, property owners will vote as to whether or not they would prefer sound walls be provided. If more than 50% of the property owners vote for the sound wall, a sound wall will be included in the project. This process has resulted in inclusion of sound walls being included in the FM 740 project and the upcoming SH 276 project.  

Q: Did the council officially vote on John King Boulevard being the preferred route?

A: Yes.

Submitted by Lauri Dodd, Public Information Officer / Marketing, City of Rockwall. Photos by Blue Ribbon News.

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