Anna to partner with TxDOT on key traffic studies

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
During the Nov 9 Anna City Council meeting, 15 graduates of the city’s new Neighbor Academy were recognized. Over the past 10 weeks, they learned about the many aspects of city government.

In response to increasing concerns about traffic in the area, Anna Public Works Directors Greg Peters announced during the Nov. 9 City Council meeting that the city would be partnering with TxDOT to conduct six traffics studies along State Highway 5 and FM 455.  Recommendations for infrastructure improvements and intersection  e-configurations will then be made based on the data compiled.  

According to Peters, the city is participating in these studies of state-owned roads after transportation department officials conceded that it would them longer to the studies on their own. 

Traffic signal warrant studies will be performed at the intersections of Highway 5 and West Rosamond Parkway, Highway 5 and East Finley Blvd, FM 455 and Oak Hollow Lane, and the intersection where FM 455 meets Westfield Drive and Willow Creek Drive. 

A turning movement study is planned for the intersection of FM 455 and South Throckmorton Blvd., which many drivers use to get into Walmart and other neighboring businesses. That intersection currently has flashing yellow turn signals.  They may need to be changed to green protected turn arrows due to increasing traffic volume. 

A second turning movement study is slated for the intersection of westbound FM 455 and southbound US 75. 

“I don’t want to speak before we get the data, but I will say that it is likely that we will see some type of a recommendation that consists of a dual left turn at that point unless the signals can be reconfigured to address that,” Peters said.  

Currently, vehicles attempting to turn left onto the freeway from FM 455 often back up across the bridge. Often this leads to delays on the northbound US 75 service road.  The situation is exacerbated by the high number of 18-wheelers in the area headed toward truck stops on either side of the road. 

“We’ve put a lot of homes on the ground in a two-year period and now we all feel it,” Mayor Nate Pike said regarding the increase in traffic on area roads. One of the major challenges the city faces on state-maintained roads is getting projects designed and built in a timely manner. He and councilman Kevin Toten both expressed a willingness to invest city funds into these projects if it means getting them built sooner. 

Peters reported that he would meet with his counterpart at TxDOT to discuss options and costs. His plan is to then come back to the Council with timelines and potential price tags for their consideration. 

Councilman Randy Atchley expressed concern that too many stoplights could hinder traffic flow on major thoroughfares, creating an undesirable situation similar to US 380 in McKinney.  Peters agreed this would be a bad outcome, adding that traffic signal timing would have to be done correctly to ensure that drivers aren’t snarled in constant gridlock. 

Mayor Pro tem Lee Miller added that while these projects could help some, the government alone would not be able to address all of Anna’s traffic issues. He noted that many vehicles are simply going too fast through the city. 

“People need to just flat out drive better,” he said.