Morriss Road Q&A
1. What is the scope of the project?
This is a roadway capacity improvement project that includes the addition of two lanes within the existing median. In addition, improvements to various intersections will be examined during project design. The project will be completed in four phases.
- Phase I (Completed 2011) – The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase I project included additional lanes from FM 2499 to FM 3040, a flyover element and entryway monument at FM 2499, intersection and safety improvements along the entire corridor, new sidewalk in locations where there previously was no existing sidewalk, widening most existing sidewalks to six feet, fencing along the entire corridor, and landscaping for the entire corridor including approximately 600 trees and 400 shrubs.
- Phase II – The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase II project is included in the approved 2017-2018 Capital Improvements Plan. This phase provides for additional northbound and southbound lanes located in the interior median from FM 3040 to just beyond Garden Road, concrete panel replacement for areas where the pavement is failing, and a water line replacement from Forest Vista to Garden Road, and various Americans with Disability Act (ADA) improvements.
- Phase III – The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase III project is included in the approved 2018-2019 Capital Improvements Plan. The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase III provides for additional northbound and southbound lanes located in the interior median from Garden Road to Eaton and a water line replacement from Milford Road to Eaton Street.
- Phase IV – The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase IV project is included in the approved 2019-2020 Capital Improvements Plan. The Morriss/Gerault Improvements Phase IV provides for additional northbound and southbound lanes located in the interior median and a water line replacement from Eaton Street to FM 407.
2. Why is the project necessary?
The project is needed to serve the short-term and long-term traffic demands projected for the Morriss/Gerault Road corridor. Even with the increased capacity provided by the two new lanes, long-range traffic volumes will exceed capacity on Morriss/Gerault, FM 2499, and Garden Ridge.
3. What is the anticipated project schedule?
In 2009, Halff Associates was awarded the design contract for the entire Morriss Road/Gerault Road project. The design reached 90 percent completion before it was broken into two phases. Phase I was constructed in 2011. In 2017, the remaining project was broken into three phases. The Phase II design is expected to be complete in early 2018. Construction of Phase II will last approximately 12 months.
4. Who has final authority to approve the capacity improvement project?
The Town Council will consider and vote on each phase of this project in two stages; the award of design and the award of the construction contract. On November 6, 2017, the Town Council approved the Phase II design award to Halff Associates. The Town Council will consider awarding the construction contract for the Morriss/Gerault project at a future meeting.
5. What is the budget for Phase II?
The total budget for Morriss/Gerault Phase II is approximately $9.1 million, with approximately $2.8 million for capacity improvements, $5.3 million for panel replacement and $1 million for water line improvements.
6. How is Phase II of the project being funded?
The capacity improvements portion of the project is being funded utilizing SH 121 Regional Toll Revenue and Roadway Impact fees. The panel replacement is being funded by sales tax revenue and the water line portion of the project is being funded with debt.
7. Can the funding be used for other purposes or projects?
If the Town decides to not use the SH 121 Regional Toll Revenue for the Morriss/Gerault Improvement project, the designated funding will return to the region and projects from other local agencies and/or the State would compete for that funding.
8. How will the new lanes affect traffic?
The additional two lanes on Morriss will provide the necessary near-term capacity to accommodate planned growth in the corridor and to serve as an alternate north-south corridor for Flower Mound residents. The additional lanes will allow for smoother flow and less delay, especially through signalized intersections.
9. How will traffic flows be impacted if the improvement project does not take place?
If the capacity improvements are not made, the same north-to-south traffic demands will exist in these corridors, resulting in higher congestion levels, undesirable cut-through traffic in neighborhoods, increased commute times and delays, as well as higher vehicle emissions.
10. Will there be a new speed limit once the road is expanded?
The Town establishes speed limits in accordance with state law, which requires the speed limit to be based upon the speed of the vehicles using the roadway. During construction, the speed limit would either remain unchanged or would be lowered. Ultimately, the Town does not anticipate the permanent speed limit to change as a result of the expansion as the curvilinear design of Morriss will help control traffic speed limits on the road.
11. How will the capacity improvement affect traffic noise levels along the corridor?
The Town anticipates that no significant impacts to noise levels would result from this project. Due to the nature of the project adding the new lanes to the center median, any additional traffic will be as far as possible from adjacent properties. Moving traffic more efficiently with fewer stops will keep noise levels minimized.
12. Will sound walls be constructed in conjunction with the improvement project?
No, it is not projected that noise levels will necessitate a need for sound walls.
13. What kind of truck traffic will be allowed once the road is expanded?
The Town has established four truck routes by ordinance. Those routes are FM 2499, FM 1171, FM 407, and FM 3040. Though trucks are allowed on other roadways for purposes such as deliveries, truck traffic on non-truck routes would typically account for one to three percent of total traffic. Due to the proximity of nearby freeways, state highways, and farm-to-market roads, the Town does not anticipate any increase in the percentage of truck traffic. Concerns with existing truck traffic can be sent to the Police Department who has the ability to enforce the truck route ordinance.
14. How does the Town’s traffic model work and how is it used to predict future traffic conditions?
The Town’s travel demand model (TransCAD) is a sophisticated stochastic GIS-based model that is the best travel demand model available for this use. It is the same model that the North Central Texas Council of Governments uses to project future traffic conditions for the region. The Town has used the model since 2001 and the Flower Mound model is a refined version of the regional model. The model is an integral tool for the SMARTGrowth Transportation Analysis. Each update to the model begins with Town-wide traffic counts, which are used to calibrate the model to existing land use and roadway networks. The Town’s adopted Master Land Use Plan is then used to generate demographic information, which, along with a built-out transportation network, are used to predict future trip-making for motorists inside and outside of Flower Mound. Demographics outside the Town limits are taken from the NCTCOG regional travel model. The Town’s model is used to predict traffic demands during horizon-year conditions, in this case, the year 2030.
15. How will the Morriss/Gerault Road corridor compare to FM 2499 and FM 1171 when complete?
As referenced above, landscaping of the medians was completed in Phase I to enhance the aesthetic quality of the Morriss/Gerault corridor. Due to the curvilinear alignment of the project and the presence of numerous closely-spaced intersections, typical vehicle speeds in this corridor should be lower than along FM 2499 and FM 1171. Further, the projected volumes for the Morriss/Gerault corridor are considerably lower than those projected for FM 2499 and FM 1171. Though all three corridors are classified as major arterials on the Town’s Master Thoroughfare Plan, the Town anticipates that the Morriss/Gerault corridor will be the commute route of choice for Flower Mound residents living east of FM 2499, while FM 2499 will serve more regional trips.
16. How will the overall aesthetics of the Morriss/Gerault corridor be affected?
The median section of Morriss/Gerault will be narrowed by approximately 25 feet; however, the remaining medians, ranging from 4 feet at turn lanes up to 20 feet, will remain, as will the existing landscaping that was installed during Phase I. The existing parkways will remain unaltered with the potential exception of isolated locations where ADA improvements are required.
17. Will the landscaping and irrigation installed in 2008 be removed or negatively impacted?
The landscaping and irrigation installed in 2008 were designed to accommodate the future additional lanes of Morriss/Gerault. However, to be consistent with the referenced Median and Rights-of-Way Landscape Master Plan, some of the landscaping could be altered or relocated, if warranted.
18. Where will the new lanes be constructed, and will additional rights-of-way or property be needed?
No additional right-of-way will be required for the two new lanes in phases II, III, or IV because they will be constructed within the existing medians.
19. Will Morriss/Gerault Road still have sidewalks once complete?
Yes, existing sidewalks will remain in place and sidewalk gaps will be connected in conjunction with the expansion project. Portions of the sidewalk will need to be replaced to bring them into compliance with the ADA.
20. Will any current subdivision entrances be affected?
No, there are no planned changes to subdivision access to Morriss or Gerault.
21. Has the Town conducted the necessary studies (environmental, traffic, etc.) associated with this project?
The Town will include the necessary water quality protection elements, such as erosion control, within the design effort for the project. Numerous studies have been conducted through the years regarding the need for Morriss/Gerault to be a major arterial. Additional studies were conducted associated with The River Walk at Central Park review process. Further, the documented need for these improvements were significant factors in the SH 121 Toll and Denton County Roadway Bond funding project selection processes.
22. What is the right-of-way width throughout the corridor?
The right-of-way width varies between 110 feet and 140 feet between FM 1171 and FM 3040; between 110 feet and 120 feet north of FM 1171; and the right-of-way width is 120 feet along Gerault.
23. Will the Morriss/Gerault project have to meet requirements contained in the ADA?
Yes, the Town will contract with a licensed reviewer to perform reviews of the engineering plans as well as inspect the project prior to completion to ensure that the project meets ADA requirements.
24. Will the expansion affect air quality in our community?
Due to the anticipated reduction in future congestion and delays that would result from the proposed improvements, this project is considered as a benefit to air quality.
25. How will the Town address school safety along the route?
The Town has a strong record of providing safe school routes, and the Morriss/Gerault Road corridor is no exception. The Town implements reduced-speed school zones marked with yellow flashing beacons, reduces neighborhood speed limits to 25 MPH within a quarter mile of the school upon request, prohibits the use of hand-held wireless devices within an active school zone, and provides police patrols and crossing guards at certain school crossings. Sidewalks are also provided and a below-grade crossing exists at Morriss and Garden Road for pedestrians using the nearby trail system.
26. Where can I get more information regarding the Morriss/Gerault Road improvement project?
Updated information will be provided via the Town of Flower Mound website, located at www.flower-mound.com/morriss.