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Planned toll road jeopardizes homes

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The Ellis County Press

CEDAR HILL - The proposed Loop 9 toll road could wipe off several homes and neighborhoods near Ovilla, Glenn Heights and southern Dallas County, according to official state maps.

Bill Haga, a Cedar Hill resident who told Cedar Hill’s planning and zoning commission that he has 150 neighbors opposed to Loop 9, is one of those homeowners in the direct path of the toll road.

Haga’s home sits on Bear Creek Road near Ovilla.

Other homeowners could see their properties taken if state and local transportation planners have their way, including residents in Midlothian near Highway 67.

"I will not support people losing their homes, unless they agree to sell," said Midlothian Councilman Ken Chambers.

In one of the state Loop 9 maps, the proposed toll road would cut through the middle of Dawson, Skyline, Griffing, Elizabeth and Lewis streets, which are located south of Cedar Hill’s Lake Ridge Parkway along Highway 67.

Glenn Heights

The stretch of Ovilla Road, or FM 664 between Hampton and Uhl roads, is a route for Loop 9. In official maps, several existing homes are in the direct path of the toll road, which was proposed in the 50s, created by legislation in the 60s and has been mentioned as an alternative to Interstate Highway 20.
"It’s important that each citizen educate themselves about this vital issue, one that is so critical to the future of our community, especially in the current housing and environmental climate.  We must ask ourselves, is this truly an improvement?  Is this what our community needs at this time,"said Elaine Holladay, a candidate for Glenn Heights City Council.

Holladay is disgusted and plans to make this one of her issues for election this May 9.

"It’s up to us to make our voices heard, and as your city councilwoman, I will do everything in my power to hear your concerns and act as your advocate," said Holladay opposing Loop 9.

Northern Ellis County

Loop 9’s proposed route stretches from Mesquite and Seagoville and winds its way just north of the Ferris city limits, crossing Interstate Highway 45, and then pipes its way into Glenn Heights and parts of Red Oak and Lancaster along the Dallas/Ellis county line.

A Web site to oppose the toll road’s "potential private property violations" was launched last week. StopLoop9.com was created by former Ellis County Press news editor Joey Dauben after he saw Loop 9’s route maps on Oak Leaf City Hall walls.

"I became very disturbed by what I saw, and that’s where it struck a cord that I had to warn the people about this," Dauben said. "Some people don’t have a clue that this thing is coming straight for them."

Jim Nesbitt, project manager for Texas Department of Transportation, said the last public hearing and meeting on the subject was back in January of 2007.

"Once the Federal Highway Administration approves the economic and environmental development, then we can go ahead and pass this bill [pushing to go ahead and approve further development]," said Nesbitt.

According to Nesbitt, plans for the next public hearing should be sometime this summer if things go as planned.

"Once these two bills [state and federal legislation] are approved, we can work with the cities and approve final layout of the project," said Nesbitt.

According TxDOT’s Web site if approved, the project should be completed between 2012 and 2015.

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