Although plans are not yet final, TxDOT hopes a new freeway will alleviate traffic along Highway 380 from Prosper to McKinney. The plans for road expansion have already divided people in Collin County.
This month TxDOT announced the Blue Alternative as a frontrunner for the US-380 bypass, however, the C route would force more than 20 homeowners and 35 business owners to move.
The 16-mile Blue Alternative would start on a new location on Coit Road and US-380, extend east and connect back to the existing US-380 near FM 1827. According to Figure 2-10: Blue Alternative, it is made up of segments A, E and C.
“So, the segments are all options in a puzzle piece. And then the colors are the corridor room possibilities,” TxDOT spokeswoman, Madison Schein said. “So, you’ll hear letters when people are talking about a shorter part of this overall project.”
According to TxDOT, the decision was made based on public comment and the agency’s final draft of an environmental impact study.
“From listening to everyone doing their analysis, we have come up with a preferred alternative, and that is going to stay on the U.S. 380 alignment longer,” Schein said “For any (improvement) project, our goal is to stay on the current alignment as much as possible. And so, this preferred alternative allows us to do that.”
But those that live along the C segment said they feel blindsided.
“Betrayed. We’ve been doing this for years, talking to TxDOT,” Gordon O’Neal said. O’Neal has lived on the same property in Collin County for more than 30 years. “(TxDOT) had chosen Option D, which was going to miss us and go up the river bottom where there are no houses.”
O’Neal lives about 15 minutes from downtown McKinney.
“My wife and I moved here to this farm in 1984,” O’Neal said.
For more than 20 years, he has dedicated much of his time and his property to teaching blacksmithing to local Boy Scout troops.
“They come every year and want to do metal work,” O’Neal said. “I think last year they came three times to do metal work.”
He started with his personal forge. Over the years, O’Neal has added more equipment in order to allow each troop to practice.
“It’s been great,” O’Neal said. “And now that scouting is co-ed, I have one troop from Fort Worth that comes every year. About half of their group (are) girls. And so now it’s opening up a new career possibility, a new craft possibility, just a new way to explore creativity for all sorts of kids.”
His home along with his blacksmith shop would be torn down if TxDOT moves forward with segment C of the Blue Alternative.
“Last week, we finally got an email from TxDOT saying that the Highway 380 bypass was going to come through our house and take our house, our garage, our storage shed, and my blacksmith shop,” O’Neal said.
A total of 22 homes and 35 businesses would be displaced.
“It will completely annihilate the peace and tranquility that we have right now, which is the reason I moved to this area of town,” Karen Smith said.
Smith built Tara Royal Equestrian Center less than ten years ago. Her center includes a jumping arena, an indoor arena, 31 pastures and currently houses 48 horses, including the McKinney Police Mounted Patrol.
The proposed highway route would cut through her driveway and create noise that, Smith said, would be detrimental to her business.
“I would likely have to shut my business down. I mean, you cannot have a horse barn with a freeway running through the top of it,” Smith said.
While the city of McKinney will discuss the matter during a work session on Tuesday at 3 p.m., the final decision will be made by TxDOT after its public meetings.
The first in-person meeting is set for Feb. 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Collin County Courthouse Central Jury Room, located at 2100 Bloomdale Road, McKinney.
A virtual meeting will also be held on Feb. 16 for those unable to attend in person. Click here for access to that meeting.
The second meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the gymnasium of Rhea’s Mill Baptist Church, located at 5733 N. Custer Road in McKinney.
To review the draft environmental impact study, click here.