An Open Road and New Opportunities: Parker County Marks Two Transportation Milestones

Parker County, Texas, continues to experience significant population growth, ranking as the 6th fastest-growing county in the United States. As a result of this rapid growth, there is increasing pressure on the existing transportation system.

To address these challenges and increase safety and connectivity, Parker County has actively worked on transportation improvement programs for more than 15 years.

Grand Opening of the East Loop

September 20, 2023, marked the opening of the East Loop in Parker County. The new $34 million thoroughfare extends the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway 6 miles from FM 51 to US 180 around the north and east sides of Weatherford, providing alternative routes to Interstate 20, alleviating downtown congestion and facilitating new development opportunities within the County. Freese and Nichols provided a full range of planning, design and construction services for the development and execution of the East Loop, as well as the earlier segments of the highway.

The County partnered with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to fund and construct the East Loop interchange at IH-20 and Center Point Road, as well as the intersections at US 180 and FM 730.

The East Loop project concluded the 2016 Parker County Transportation Bond Program. The voter-approved program was $76.2 million, and the program leveraged over $80 million in additional State and Federal funding for the County. Freese and Nichols served as the 2016 Bond Program Manager, overseeing 25 transportation projects.

“It can be challenging for a county to address the transportation needs of a growing population, but Parker County has demonstrated the value of thoughtful planning and forging long-term partnerships,” said Chris Bosco, Freese and Nichols’ Transportation Practice Leader. “As a Parker County resident myself, I can attest to the safer roadways, smoother commutes and less traffic congestion that the bond programs have provided.”

Third Bond Program Passes in Parker County

As the Parker County Commissioners Court concludes the 2016 bond, it led to the voters’ approval of the 2023 bond that was passed on November 7. This $130 million bond program will cover 32 transportation projects to meet the community safety and mobility needs of the county.

The program involves important partnerships with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to enhance IH-20, FM 730, FM 1187, and several intersection projects. Additionally, it includes improvements to both City and County roadways, with the goal of enhancing safety and mobility throughout the County.

If you are experiencing growth challenges in your area, please reach out to Freese and Nichols as your experienced and trusted advisor. We are ready to help with your transportation planning, engineering, and program development.