A three-way co-op between the City of Anna, Collin County and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been working for the past several years on plans to reconstruct and widen FM 455 (White Street) between U.S. Highway 75 and Texas Highway 5 (Powell Parkway).

When the project is completed, FM 455 will have a much different look. It will be a four lane boulevard (two lanes in each direction) with a median and will be expandable to six lanes in anticipation of the city’s growth, explained Anna City Manager Philip Sanders. There will also be a number of turning lanes to access area businesses.

But before we get to that point, while tons of dirt have already been moved, a long road still lies ahead. During the last two years, utility lines that serve the area, including electric, cable, gas, water and sewer, have been relocated making way for the upcoming roadway improvements. AT&T is the only utility company that has yet to start relocating its utility lines, according to Sanders. AT&T has, however, advised the city that work will start this month.

TxDOT is expected to give the city an update in April on the anticipated start date of its road construction. Sanders, when asked for a ballpark timeline, felt the construction work could go on, once started, anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Traffic would be maintained on FM 455 and when one-half of the road is completed traffic would switch to that side.

Area drivers concerned and frustrated about the evening rush hour traffic back-ups on the northbound FM 455 exit ramp off of 75 that stretch all the way back to the highway will have to put up with this problem for quite a while yet. Sanders said that TxDOT is aware of the problem and that it is currently developing construction plans for a project that will completely reconstruct the U.S. 75/FM 455 interchange. The project is slated to include relocation and reconstruction of the entry and exit ramps, improvements to the frontage roads and widening of the FM 455 bridge spanning U.S. 75.

While the project has not yet been scheduled for construction, Sanders pointed out that TxDOT has assured the city that they are placing a priority on securing funding for the interchange work.

"While I was hoping to see this project done three years ago it should be under construction within the next five years," said Sanders. "Ultimately, the reconstruction of the interchange along with the expansion of FM 455 will greatly enhance the safety and mobility of motorists."

And now for some good news for all the drivers that are waiting for a traffic light at FM 455 and Ferguson Parkway. While TxDOT, after previously conducting a study and concluding that the traffic volume does not yet warrant a traffic signal, did a 180-degree turn this week and approved the traffic light.

"It probably will be installed at the time of the FM 455 roadway project," said Sanders.