Driving Change: Exploring the Future of U.S. Highway 287 in Ellis County Amidst Safety Concerns and Feasibility Studies

287 corridor Texas map

MIDLOTHIAN – If you’ve ever navigated the roads of Ellis County, you’ve traversed the iconic, often frustrating U.S. Highway 287.

Recently, the spotlight has shone on the Midlothian stretch of this highway, igniting conversations about the frequency of accidents. However, the number of accidents might not be as high as people believe.

The Midlothian Police Department reported 139 crashes on Highway 287 from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. That number was only up 33 from 106 in 2022.

As for the fatality crashes citywide, Midlothian Assistant Police Chief Scott Brown said there were six fatality accidents in 2022, and only two were on Highway 287. Last year, there were seven fatality crashes citywide, and only three were on Highway 287.

The Texas Department of Transportation recently conducted a study on the possibility of converting U.S. Highway 287 into an interstate.

The feasibility study is being conducted with a look at the entire 754 miles of Highway 287 from Port Arthur, Texas, to the Oklahoma State Line. Overall, the study and results will impact nine TxDOT Districts, 60 counties, six Metropolitan Planning Organizations/Council of Governments, and is adjacent to 71 cities.

US 287 Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study

While the TxDOT spokesperson did not respond by press time regarding the feasibility study, the TxDOT website reads, “TxDOT works to deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system. TxDOT’s Transportation Planning and Programming Division is conducting the US 287 Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study. The study aims to evaluate interstate feasibility for US 287, identify corridor needs, and develop prioritized improvements that enhance safety, connectivity, and mobility along the corridor.”

The study components of the US Highway 287 Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study include the review of existing conditions, identifying needs and gaps, engaging the broad range of corridor stakeholders, assessing interstate feasibility, performing economic analysis, identifying and prioritizing improvements, estimating preliminary costs by improvement and develop an implementation plan and report.

287 corridor feasability facts sheet

Key considerations regarding the potential improvements to Highway 287 will be identified with stakeholders and the public according to TxDOT analyzing various elements, including safety, mobility and congestion, multimodal passenger and freight options, intermodal, resiliency, connectivity, operations and emerging technologies, asset preservation, and interstate feasibility.

A public survey could be sent out as early as this summer for stakeholders and the public asking for comments and concerns. Meanwhile, the study will continue with the phases of the feasibility study through 2024. The implementation plan is expected to be developed by the spring of 2025.

Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman said of the TxDOT feasibility study, “I think we need to do whatever we can to make our highways safer for our citizens.  US Highway 287 has been a major thoroughfare for Texas since its construction in 1939. It is an important artery for commerce. As the population in Texas grows, more and more traffic travels along 287 daily. I will be following closely the results of the feasibility study.”

For more information, visit www.txdot.gov and search “US 287 Corridor Study.”