The Texas Department of Transportation is debating whether to widen Farm to Market Road 664 from two to four lanes by 2024.

The proposal would widen 7.8 miles of the road from U.S. 287 to Westmoreland Road in Ovilla. According to a notice from the department, the initial plan would consist of 12-foot wide travel lanes, five-foot sidewalks in both directions and 14-foot wide outside shared-use lanes.

Improvements include expanding the existing two-lane rural roadway to a four-lane urban road. The estimated construction cost is $97.5 million.

TxDOT Public Information Officer Donna Simmons said the project is currently in the preliminary planning stages and is seeking public input on the plan. Simmons stated that the department is holding a public meeting on the project at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Mar. 5 at the Waxahachie Civic Center, located at 2000 Civic Center Lane.

The project is being developed simultaneously alongside another project going on the east side of Farm-to-Market 664. According to Simmons, the second project would widen East Ovilla Road from a two-lane undivided rural roadway to a six-lane rural roadway with curb, gutter and a raised median. A 2.5-mile bypass would also be constructed to connect to a new interchange from Interstate 35 East to Interstate 45.

Simmons said their traffic counts dictate lane expansions, or how many vehicles cross their paths a day. So far, Farm-to-Market Road 664 averages about 21,000 cars a day, according to TxDOT’s website.

“That merits having it widened,” she said. “It really improves the flow of traffic and reduces congestion in the intersection.”

Other improvements would include eliminating the 90-degree turns along Farm-to-Market 664 between Farm-to-Market 1387 and Marshall Road. The existing right-of-way is 100 feet and will increase with the proposed project to the 150-foot width. The proposed project requires an estimated 80 acres of additional land to widen the roadway, based on the preliminary design.

“If we don’t do something now on this stretch of road, the rate of growth in this area is going to outrun us,” Simmons explained. “Then we’ll have to come back in with construction crews and fix it when congestion is already so bad. Now is the time to plan this.”

Written comments may be submitted either in person at the public meeting, by mail to the TxDOT Dallas District Office, Attention: Nelson Underwood, P.E., 4777 E. Highway 80, Mesquite, TX 75150-6643, or by email addressed to Nelson.Underwood@txdot.gov. Written comments must be postmarked by March 20, 2019, to be included in the official public meeting documentation.

To learn more about the public meeting, go online at www.txdot.gov.