Dundee Road residents seek relief from traffic congestion
By Sherry Koonce email@example.com
Nov. 15, 2012 at 10 p.m.
L.D. Cary will tell you that if there's one thing he's learned while living at his home on Doublewood Drive in Pine Tree, it's "don't leave home at quittin' time."
About 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Cary said he can't get out of his subdivision onto Dundee Road because traffic is backed up both ways as far as the eye can see.
"At 5 p.m. you can forget about getting out of here," said the 78-year-old Cary. "And it's not much better in the morning when people are going to work."
Residents along Dundee Road want to see improvements to the roadway. At the very least, they said, some of the cracks and potholes should be filled.
Not quite a mile long, Dundee Road connects Pine Tree Road and Gilmer Road.
The Longview Metropolitan Planning Organization has estimated 14,000 cars travel the road daily, many using it as a cut-through on their way to and from Gilmer, White Oak or Spring Hill.
Former Longview Councilman Tom Hayes, who served from 1985 to 1995, has brought the road to the council's attention on numerous occasions - most recently at the Nov. 8 meeting, hoping something can be done to improve the road.
Hayes lives in the Mill Creek subdivision in a house that is just a stone's throw, about 100 feet, away from Dundee, he said.
"I am not a rebel rouser, not a hellion, and don't want any problems, but I want to bring it to the city's attention that we need to fix the road," Hayes said.
On both sides of Dundee, the area is populated by subdivisions and duplex communities.
Hayes said at peak traffic hours, traffic is so congested that anyone living in one of the subdivisions with an emergency would not be able to get out.
Two churches are on the road, and two more are at the Pine Tree Road intersection.
At the Gilmer Road intersection, a Brookshire's grocery store and two convenience stores contribute to the high volume of traffic.
"It's a great, great road if you live in Spring Hill or Gilmer or White Oak," Hayes aid.
In the past couple of months, the city has widened the shoulders of Dundee by three feet on each side, and there are further plans to alter it, said Keith Bonds, Longview director of Public Works.
Together, the projects will cost $260,000, funded from the city's regular street maintenance budget.
Before making the shoulder improvements, Bonds said the city considered widening Dundee to four-lanes, but determined it was not financially feasible.
To do so would have cost about $6.6 million, a price that would have included the addition of two lanes, new utilities, storm sewer drains, and curb and gutters.
Mayor Jay Dean said he would like to see additional improvements to the road, perhaps adding a third lane at the subdivision intersections.
"That road has been in pretty dire straits for a long time. It has needed work, and we need to address it," Dean said.
While the road could benefit from additional lanes, a lack of money is not the only roadblock, Dean said.
When first elected to City Council 14 years ago, Dean said there was a desire to widen the road, but the plan met with resistance from residents who did not want to lose frontage.
Though the George Richey Road Expansion project should alleviate some of the traffic, drawing drivers to the north and away from the cut-through street, it will be three or four years before the expansion is completed.
"Right now, today, that same traffic that would use George Richey Road when it is expanded, is using Dundee Road, and we just can't wait four years," Dean said.
Major improvements were included in the city's Capital Improvement Projects list, but are not up for funding anytime soon.
Dean said he would like to see improvements to Dundee Road be moved up on the CIP list, and plans to ask city engineers to look at the project, with cost estimates, for what it will take to fix the road.
Dean said the expenditure would have to be absorbed with the regular streets budget, rather than calling for a bond election.
"We've known about this for quite some time, so we have to see if we can find out how much it will cost, and if we can afford it. I think this needs to be done sooner, rather than later," Dean said.