FM 1387 could turn from a two-lane rural road to a six-lane urban roadway by 2022. That is, so long as Midlothian citizens do not show up to a public meeting two weeks from now and voice concerns against the project.
The proposal would eventually widen over five miles of FM 1387 to six lanes from North Midlothian Parkway to FM 664, according to a notice from the Texas Department of Transportation. The initial proposal would consist of one 12-foot-wide travel lane, one 14-foot-wide shared-use lane, two-foot-wide offsets and five-foot-wide sidewalks. The proposal designs separate the roads by one 16-foot median and will require about 52 acres of right-of-way to widen the road.
With the project currently being in the planning stages, TxDOT Public Information Officer Donna Huerta Simmons said public opinion is vital. That’s why she encourages residents to voice their concerns at the project’s public meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 at the Midlothian Heritage High School cafeteria, located at 4000 FM 1387.
Simmons said besides safety that growth and travel are the most significant factors the department takes into consideration when planning roadway developments. With Midlothian’s population consistently growing over the past several years, Simmons said that is why the department determined the need for this roadway expansion.
With the six-lane increase already set for their projections, Simmons said public feedback would mostly determine which pathways they take for the road expansions.
Simmons clarified the expansion would go over many residents’ roadways during construction, including a few houses. Simmons said once those decisions are made, and final designs are put together, experts would go to individual property owners and offer them market value compensation for their properties.
“They either accept it or don’t,” Simmons explained. “If they don’t, then if that route has been accepted and that’s where it’s going to go, then they would go on and do more negotiation.”
Midlothian resident Gordon Krietmeyer was contacted by the department to come onto his property and inspect it for the project. Krietmeyer accepted but instructed them to notify him when they were planning on coming.
However, Krietmeyer claims he was not notified by TxDOT and officials showed up to his property uninvited.
“I met them right back there on my property with a high-powered assault rifle and a Glock 22,” Krietmeyer recalled. “They looked like deer in headlights. I said ‘You need to tell your boss to follow instructions.’ Pretty simple.”
Krietmeyer said he moved to Midlothian five years ago with his wife, Jerri, because of the peaceful environment. With these planned developments now underway, Krietmeyer said he doesn’t know if he will remain in Midlothian, especially if FM 1387 expands into six lanes.
“It’s nothing like it used to be,” Jerri explained. “It’s really frustrating. They’re growing too big, too fast. They don’t need this out here. It’s a beautiful street.”
Eleanor Logan is a new resident of Midlothian, and she said she doesn’t like that she already has to deal with these new developments going on near her home.
“One of the reasons we moved out here is because of the quietness,” she said. “We’ve only been here for a month. If you saw my garage, we still have like 60 boxes in there.”
Brent Cromwell is also new to the area and said he doesn’t like the proposal either.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he quipped. “There are parts of 1387 that need to be widened. Five miles down the road past Heritage High School. They need to start there. This area right here is not that bad.”
With the curvatures already in the road, Cromwell said maintaining the current roadway would be more significant to the residents who live there. Expanding lanes, he said, would only expand problems.
“It’s not going to make the road any safer,” he said. “I don’t care if you make it eight lanes. The more people you have, the more dangerous it’s just going to get.”
Cromwell said he plans to attend the Aug. 30 meeting and voice his opinion, even though he feels it won’t do much to impact the proposal. He called the road expansions a terrible idea.
“This is a farm to market road,” he said. “This doesn’t need to be I-35.”
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX