The North Texas Tollway Authority and TxDOT heard from the public Tuesday on the proposed Trinity Parkway. A majority of citizen speakers questioned the wisdom of building a toll road in the flood plain and through a planned park.
The hearing was to gather public comment to forward to the Federal Highway Administration. It is expected to decide later this year if the proposed toll road can be built within the Trinity River levees, or if an alternate route should be considered.
Engineering consultants presented the latest study on the impact a toll road would have on the city’s overhaul of the levees to bring them up to federal flood protection standards. Jason Diamond, with Halff Associates says the toll road meets the criteria established by the Corps of Engineers and should not pose a problem.
"With the exception of water surface rises that would occur within the floodway during a 100-year flood event," Diamond said.
Even though a major 100-year flood may be rare, that exception troubles toll road opponent and Dallas City Councilmember Angela Hunt.
"Five years ago we heard that the toll road was hydrologically neutral, which meant it would have no effect on the water level between the levees," Hunt said.
Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jim Oberwetter reminded the crowd at the Convention Center that says citizens voted for the Trinity Parkway – twice, once in 1998, and a petition-driven referendum in 2007.
"Our community needs a Trinity Parkway. It will provide much needed relief by redirecting onto the parkway an average 25 percent of the vehicles from the Canyon segment of I-30," Oberwetter said.
Council member Scott Griggs called the Parkway way too expensive at an estimated $140 million a mile to build, and $4 million a year to maintain.
"Looking at how many cars it’s going to move, possibly 100,000 cars as the report says -- about $14,000 per car," Griggs said.
Others said the noise and exhaust of a six lane highway would kill enjoyment of the proposed Trinity Park. Comments may be emailed or mailed to the NTTA through May 18.