Rockwall Herald-Banner (Texas)

January 4, 2010

Signs point to beginning of FM 740 widening project

By Jim Hardin

Herald-Banner Staff

There’s numerous signs along Farm to Market 740 to let motorists know that the highway widening project has officially begun.

There’s the presence of heavy equipment, freshly-dug ditches, piles of gravel, stacks of pipe and “flagman ahead” signs along a portion of the highway.

And one of the biggest signs is the one erected off FM 740 in the “S” curve in front of Chandler’s Landing. Under a heading of “Working Together,” the sign states that the road project is made possible by Rockwall County, Texas Department of Transportation, City of Rockwall and City of Heath.

Rockwall County Commissioner Lorie Grinnan said the work that motorists are seeing now is the relocation of water and sewer lines. The contract for this work was awarded by the City of Rockwall.

Soon, Grinnan said, the City of Heath will award a contract for similar work along the portion of FM 740 located in that city’s jurisdiction.

Other major utility relocation work also will begin soon, the commissioner said. That work will involve AT&T;, Atmos Energy and Oncor.

The utility relocation projects are necessary before Phase 1 of the highway construction project can begin. Grinnan said actual construction on the initial phase is targeted to start in March.

A $12.3 million contract for Phase 1 construction was awarded to Ed Bell Construction Co. of Dallas. Phase 1 construction is expected to take 24 months to complete.

Plans call for FM 740 to be widened from its current two lanes to a divided four-lane urban roadway.

Phase 1, considered to be the “northern” part of the project, is a 2.4-mile stretch that extends south from Horizon Road (FM 3097) in Rockwall to a T-intersection at FM 1140 in front of Fulton Academy in Heath.

Phase II — the “southern” phase — will involve continuing the widening project past Rockwall-Heath High School.