Exchange Parkway to be expanded


Ben Prengler

Additional lanes will be added to Exchange Parkway that will increase the road’s capacity by 33 percent.

Michelle Leddon, Staff Reporter

The flow of traffic on Exchange Parkway will be improving in the near future, but it might be getting worse first as the city of Allen begins construction on the road.

“Exchange Parkway has been identified as a six lane, median divided thoroughfare on the Regional, County, and City Thoroughfare Master Plans.” city of Allen Director of Engineering Chris Flanigan said. “Since the time that Exchange was initially built as a four lane roadway, the traffic volumes have increased as the community matures.  Therefore, to enhance the capacity of the thoroughfare, one additional lane will be constructed in each direction so that more volume can move along the corridor.  Additionally, signal and intersection improvements will take place to enhance mobility.”

The project is expected to cost $5.5 million and will expand two sections between Alma Drive and U.S. Highway 75, then another between Greenville Avenue and Allen Heights Drive.

“The construction is anticipated to start at the west side of the project, then progress toward the eastern limits.” Flanigan said. “The contract begins this month and will take a year to be completed, though substantial completion – the point where the widened roadway will be open to the public – will be completed on sections of the road before that time.”

Despite all of the construction and shutdowns, the additional lanes will increase the road’s capacity by 33 percent whenever construction is complete. Other roadways will be widened in the near future in the area as well including Ridgeview Drive from Alma through Stacy Road, and Stacy Road from Greenville to Country Club.

“Throughout the project, there are various phases that will require constriction of the traffic to one-lane westbound and one-lane eastbound. Traffic will always be permitted in both directions, though, with at least one lane in each direction. This is necessary, as the contractor must occupy a lane when working along the side of the street.” Flanigan said.  “With that said, it will be our goal to limit lane closures to take place during “non-peak” times whenever possible, when traffic volumes are lightest, between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM.”

Students are going to have to deal with the construction in the area for a while but it has yet to extremely impact the roads most of them use on a regular basis when they drive. The most impactful shut down will be the temporary closing of Watters Road intersection between Bossy Boots and Raintree Circle.

“I think it’s a good idea to expand the road, I just wish it wasn’t during the school year.” junior Taylor LeGrange said.

Most students don’t even know about the construction that is going to take place because it has yet to cause periodic lane closings.

“I didn’t know that this was happening, but I guess we need it.” senior Mark Scott said.

No matter what thoughts students and the community have on the matter, Exchange Parkway is going to expand in the future to cater to the expansion of drivers in the Allen area.

“Several factors can affect a municipality’s decision to expand a roadway,” Flanigan said. “In this case, with more than 20,000 vehicles per day, the 4-lane configuration is nearing capacity. The additional lanes will provide the additional capacity, in order to keep pace with growing traffic volumes we are experiencing, in conformance with long-range plans established by the community.”