Drivers on one of Plano’s roads with the most traffic will continue to see plenty of cones, cranes and torn up concrete throughout much of 2024.

Crews are working to replace asphalt and water lines on several sections of Parker Road, which runs horizontally all the way across the city.

Throughout the construction, which started in July, drivers have also seen increased traffic and vehicle damage, leading commuters to update their plans to avoid hitting the sections of Parker Road with the bulk of the construction.

Despite the consequences, the work to update Parker Road is a necessity, according to city staff.

“Rehabilitation is an avenue to stay ahead of a place where the only option is reconstruction,” Assistant Director of Public Works Carrie Jones said.

What you need to know

City staff project the total cost of the project to be around $20 million, which is funded through general obligation bonds and the water fund.

The water main replacement is necessary, Director of Engineering Caleb Thornhill said, because there is an old cast-iron water pipe under Parker Road that needs to be replaced with PVC pipe. In some areas, pavement along Parker Road is up to 40 years old, and the cast-iron water main is nearly 50.

It is more efficient to replace the water main before construction, Thornhill said, because it saves taxpayers money.

“We’re trying to be proactive and get it replaced before we do the major improvements to the roadway so we don’t have to be out there in a couple of years and replace the water line,” Thornhill said.

Jones said the asphalt overlay process is a more efficient way to extend Parker Road’s lifespan while trying to mitigate traffic impacts by closing off one lane at a time.

She said the asphalt overlay is a durable solution for the roadway with a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. The city began using asphalt overlays to repair segments of the road in 2017, and officials said they have noticed better results compared to conventional concrete repairs.

“We have not seen any major concrete failures in our asphalt overlay areas,” Jones said.

Zooming in

The extensive construction on Parker Road has led to several complications for drivers.

From July 5-Jan. 25, the city received 86 claims for vehicle damage caused by the construction on Parker Road, with 68 of those claims being filed in January. The uptick in claims was caused by the combination of work on the water main and increased awareness of the city’s claim program, a city representative said.

Gary Hirsch, owner of Hirsch’s Meats on the corner of Parker Road and Alma Drive, said he sees the effects daily.

Parker Road has always had traffic due to its central location in the city, Hirsch said, and the construction is adding further to his customers’ commute.

“We’re all frustrated, especially since [the construction] was happening over the holidays,” he said. “I hear [customers] in here grumbling about the construction, and I understand the frustration.”

Hirsch said he has constantly had to adapt over the 30 years his business has been in Plano. But between the weather and ongoing construction, he said his business had some of its “slowest days” at the start of this year.

“We’ve seen traffic backed up all the way down the street,” he said. “I know some people may not make that extra trip to come here because they don’t want to put up with that.”

What’s next

Thornhill said the water main replacement is scheduled to be complete in July and could last as long as 50 years.

Jones said crews are continuing work on asphalt overlays between Country Place Drive and the eastern city limits, and between the western city limits and Willow Bend Drive. Overlays between Custer Road and Independence Parkway will begin after the water main installation.

However, the Parker Road project will likely be completed in 2027 because asphalt overlays can only be installed when the road temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Jones said.

Plano drivers, including Hirsch, are looking forward to seeing that progress take shape.

“We have to tolerate it, and hopefully come springtime, it will be a beautiful road,” he said.