New Dallas Trinity toll road plan looks like old ones, critics say

Posted Mar 21 2016 04:49PM CDT

Video Posted Mar 21 2016 05:51PM CDT

Updated Mar 21 2016 06:25PM CDT

The latest version of a proposed toll road along the Trinity River was unveiled at Dallas City Hall on Monday and had critics claiming the new plan looks a lot like previous ones.

Proponents of the toll road said it will no longer be a high speed road, but critics have their doubts. The toll road was originally envisioned to be 60 MPH, but public backlash prompted a so-called meandering design to slow traffic speeds.

Former city council member Angela Hunt, now on a Trinity advisory team, believes the curves shown in updated plans and video renderings won't slow anyone down.

 “When we were told this road was designed for 45 MPH, we investigated and looked at the geometry of the road, and we learned the road appears to be designed for much higher speeds,” Hunt said.

The issue brought former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk back to city hall on Monday for the first time since he left as mayor 15 years ago.

“If you'd asked me if I'd thought when we passed this in 1999 that we'd still be sitting here doing this, I would have been broken hearted,” Kirk said. “I'm concerned this is one more attempt to delay this and delay and delay it.”

Council member Rickey Callahan argued the road is desperately needed as a traffic reliever through downtown.

"Twenty five to 33 percent probably want to slow this down to an Andy Griffith type road where he and Opie walk down a country road and throw rocks into the Trinity,” Callahan said.

He said proponents of a high speed road have compromised enough with the design.

"When there are chemical spills or trucks laid down into the canyon you can't get across Dallas,” Callahan said.

Hunt says what was seen in renderings on Monday will only be the beginning of an ever-growing road.

"They make no bones about the fact this will eventually be a high speed toll road with more than 6 lanes, lots of interchanges,” Hunt said. “If people sign onto this, that is what they are signing onto."

The city plans to set a time and a place to get public input on the latest plans for the toll road.

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