Emerald Forest residents pleased with changes to 2050 throroughfare plan

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Residents from a number of neighborhoods around Bryan and College Station showed up Monday night at the Brazos Center for the unveiling of a new map detailing the county’s future thoroughfare concept.

The map’s first draft was met with concern from residents, who say some of the new roads were not welcome in their neighborhoods.

"We no longer have 2818 going through Emerald Forest,” said Daniel Rudge, BCS Metropolitan Planning Organization executive director.

Emerald Forest residents have been fighting the possibility of a highway going right through their subdivision since the MPO began outreach meetings earlier this year.

Monday night they unveiled the change, one of many the group made based on feedback from residents.

"We said we were going to listen to what the public told us and the public told us no," said Rudge.

Rudge said they made the changes because they received at least 700 petition signatures and hundreds of public comments expressing concerns.

"Most of the congestion in town is getting to and from A&M,” said Connor Heim, College Station resident. “A lot of the new roads they have are loops around the area.”

Heim said she understands the MPO is trying to address the region's growing population by 2050, but she's worried some areas like Texas A&M are being neglected. Rudge said it's because the university is sitting in the middle of well established neighborhoods.

"To do anything in and around campus, we would have to take a great deal of property and a great deal of neighborhoods,” said Rudge. “The best that we can hope for is to try and improve the existing roads as best we can."

Rudge pointed out that while the plan is extensive, a large chunk of it may never become reality because of the enormous $3 billion price tag.

"Once we have these drawn, where the growth occurs, that's where we will focus on the corridors that are identified on the map,” said Rudge.

Rudge said the county gets $13 million a year to spend on improvements.

The MPO will take feedback they received at Monday’s meeting and decide if they need to make any further adjustments. If changes are made to the map, another public meeting to unveil the changes will be called. If not, the plans will go before an advisory board.