US 380 remains congested as a 20-mile construction project to widen the roadway from Loop 288 in Denton to Custer Road continues. But officials say the end result will support the growing development along the corridor and provide better access to the major north/south roadways in Frisco.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, most commuters travel eastbound US 380 from Denton and westbound from McKinney, then turn southbound on the Dallas North Tollway or Preston Road.
Frisco Chamber of Commerce President Tony Felker said the completion of the roadway will have a positive impact for the Frisco workforce.
“Frisco will be able to connect to Denton and McKinney easily and those cities will be able to connect to major corridors like the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road,” Felker said. “This will be a plus for each of the cities in terms of workforce and will improve the overall market.”
Access for the workforce
Felker said transportation is integral to businesses from a logistical perspective because of the necessity of linking a company to its suppliers, customers and workforce.
“For the business climate to be strong, you want to have a good workforce; you want to have access to business, homes and education,” Felker said. “It all ties together, so that’s why transportation is such a big focus for the chamber of commerce as we’re looking out for the greater business community.”
Felker said once US 380 construction is complete, he expects more workers from the east and west to flock to the Frisco area, especially people in the service industry who might work at restaurants or hotels.
“Many of those service workers may not be able to afford to live in Frisco but [US 380] will provide access to jobs in Frisco for those living in other cities such as Denton,” Felker said.
The next ‘major artery’
Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition Executive Director Drew Campbell said US 380 will be the next “major artery” in Collin and Denton counties as growth continues at a rapid pace in the area.
The transportation advocacy group is made up of cities, counties and transportation agencies in a five-county region, including Dallas, Denton, Collin, Rockwall and Ellis counties.
Campbell compared the US 380 growing pains with the process that the LBJ Express went through from 2009-15 to relieve congestion on I-635.
“Once transportation projects grew and became available throughout Collin County, [the county] quickly grew,” Campbell said. “Just like with any transportation project, there’s always going to be growing pains but I think everyone will agree when [LBJ Express] was being built there were growing pains, but now that it’s built, I don’t know how we ever lived without it.”
Campbell said when US 380 is complete he expects more people and businesses to move into the area.
“Obviously we are doing everything we can to [examine]potential problems with businesses and congestion, but it’s just the reflection of a fast-growing area,” Campbell said.
“The better the infrastructure, the more attractive a place becomes to live, work and play,” he said.
TxDOT started US 380 construction in March 2016 at a cost of more than $50 million.
Frisco’s portion of the US 380 construction includes a 2 1/2-mile stretch from FM 423 to Custer Road. The roadway through Frisco is being widened to a six-lane freeway with eastbound and westbound access roads. Overpasses will be constructed at the DNT, BNSF Railroad and Preston Road intersections.
The first phase of the project, which stretches from Custer Road to Lovers Lane, was completed last fall. The second phase, from Lovers Lane to CR 26, is under construction, and the third phase, CR 26 to Loop 288, is still in the design phase.
The entire project is expected to be complete by winter 2018.
TxDOT spokesperson Michelle Releford said US 380 will remain congested until more lanes and signals become available.
“We work with the cities with the timing of traffic signals to move traffic the best way that it can coming from all directions through an intersection,” Releford said.
According to the city of Frisco, this month eastbound traffic will relocate from existing lanes to the new eastbound frontage road lanes. At the same time westbound traffic will shift onto the existing eastbound lanes. This traffic pattern will remain in place for several months while new westbound frontage roads are constructed.
Aside from road construction, there is also construction on developments along US 380, mainly on the Prosper side. Some of the developments under construction in Prosper include retail centers and medical facilities.
Frisco has planned developments as well, but only residential neighborhoods, including Hollyhock and Prestwick, are under construction. Other planned developments include mixed-used developments, retail centers and a movie theater on the southwest corner of the DNT and US 380.
There are some pieces of land along the southern portions of US 380 that have not yet been sold to developers.
“The reason some of that land is not developed is because property owners are not in the selling mode right now,” said commercial real estate broker Buddy Minett, who works at Herrin Real Estate in Celina and has clients in north Frisco and surrounding cities.
However, Minett said he believes the finished road project will serve to attract developers to the empty tracts and commercial development will be heavy on both sides of US 380.
“Frisco can do more with its [economic development corporation]than anybody else if the right opportunity is there,” Minett said. “It makes it a lot easier for Frisco to attract some really [solid]development because they have a bigger pocketbook.”