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Highway project settlement mitigates park impact by acquiring 62 acres of additional land and providing $10 million dollars in park improvements in Grand Prairie, Texas.

 

Highway extension evolves into park and trail project


photo of bridge and sign

Signs, landscaping, and artistic railings enhance the project

 

During the planning for the extension of State Highway 161, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) determined that the most feasible alignment through the city of Grand Prairie would require conversion of approximately 10 acres of existing city park land, a portion of C.P. Waggoner Park to highway right of way. TxDOT evaluated multiple options to avoid the park but negative impacts to existing residential development limited the alternative options.

The highway project became mired in litigation and TxDOT proposed a settlement to mitigate the park impact by acquiring 62 acres of additional land and to provide $10 million dollars in park improvements and amenities, concentrating on a linear trail connecting C.P. Waggoner Park to Mike Lewis Park, approximately 1 mile north of the affected park. The overall vision of this project was to enhance the two existing parks and create a natural corridor linking the two parks with a fully accessible trail that separates the user from the urban environment.

The consultant firm of HNTB Corporation, Dallas, Texas, was contracted to design the park improvements, in concert with Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation staff and representatives from TxDOT. Both parks are partially located in the floodplain of the west fork of the Trinity River and each feature large wooded areas and a rich riparian environment. The design team focused on opportunities to protect and enhance the natural conditions of the site, as well as encourage future trail users to experience the outdoors.

photo of shade structure

River overlook structure

The two organizations partnered to ensure that the design plans and construction documents met the pre-determined criteria. The organizations met weekly with the consultant team to review plans, offer suggestions and work out site and project constraints.

TxDOT partnered with the City of Grand Prairie to acquire the necessary 62 acres for the linear park and expansion, to expedite the project. TxDOT reimbursed the city for all acquisition costs. The land, alone, was a valuable addition to the city’s park system inventory. But the partnership continued with development.

Improvements in the park development plans included construction of 4.85 miles of ADA accessible 14’ wide concrete paved trail. The trail consisted of a lighted trail loop located in each of the two parks and the main trail connecting the two parks within a 200 foot wide trail corridor.

Due to the site conditions, a 250 foot long pedestrian bridge had to be constructed to cross Johnson Creek, a major tributary of the west fork of the Trinity River. Additionally, three elevated boardwalks were also constructed to access designated wetlands. Accessible ramps at six locations provide trail users non-vehicular access to the linear park, encouraging pedestrian usage.

For more information:

Grand Prairie Parks & Recreation
P.O. Box 54045
Grand Prairie, TX 75054
phone (972) 237-8375
www.grandfungp.com

 

photo of bridge at night

The trail bridge over Johnson Creek at dusk

 

 

 

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