County commissioners on Feb. 1 granted city staff the authority to purchase parcels along County Road 164 and Bloomdale Road for a future alignment of the US 380 bypass. Collin County will seek to buy land from willing sellers, opting out of implementing eminent domain.
The decision comes as the Texas Department of Transportation is in the midst of conducting an environmental impact study for US 380, which commissioners say could take years. Consensus among county staff and commissioners is that it is ideal to act as soon as possible, before developers construct new homes on needed land.
TxDOT held a public scope meeting Jan. 21 regarding US 380. Collin County Engineering Director Clarence Daugherty said TxDOT’s stance of running the project through the Bloomdale corridor aligns with that of Collin County.
When asked by the court whether action taken by the county would force TxDOT's hand, Daughtery said, "TxDOT is already in this path, so [county] action is not going to force anything."
Collin County officials also want to make accommodations for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which Daugherty said needs to soon install a large water supply line to the city of McKinney. Easements required for this project fall within the US 380 alignment, according to Daugherty.
Commissioner Duncan Webb underscored the importance of prioritizing land purchases for future infrastructure.
“If we don’t start acquiring this right-of-way or at least attempt to acquire this right-of-way, I’m very concerned that the developers are going to close the corridor and make it next to impossible for the freeway ... [to run] through the center portion of our county,” Webb said. “So I’m very supportive of it.”
County Judge Chris Hill, who cast the only vote against the measure, said he would prefer to let TxDOT lead the way. Hill was in support of purchasing parcels of land now but wanted to omit some of the more declarative language in the resolution.
Hill said action taken Feb. 1 may be contrary to what the commissioners court has told residents.
“My fear is that we've told the folks of Collin County we're going to put this on hold for the next two years while TxDOT does what they're going to do,” Hill said. “If we jump in and say, ‘Well, this is the route that we want,’ then we have short-circuited that process.”
Action taken Feb. 1 does not affect any plans for construction through Prosper, county staff said.