Heritage Square is a concept developed around recapturing the original courthouse square and bringing it back to its former status as the focal point for the entire community. For years the square hosted major public events that provided the context for downtown shopping and socialization. While much of the downtown luster changed as roadway designs were adjusted, the desire for a usable and livable downtown never changed. Heritage Square saves the heritage, history and culture of Weatherford.
Heritage Square is a three-phase project to divert thru-traffic flows away from the downtown area and move truck traffic to the Ric Williamson outer loop. How is this accomplished? The City of Weatherford is working to take control of state highways within the downtown area and the entire City. Once this is accomplished, thru-truck traffic will be directed to the outer loop and police patrols will be used to stop large non-delivery trucks from entering the downtown district. With the implementation of the northern bypass (phase 1), east/west traffic flow will move away from the congested courthouse area and move more smoothly around the center of Weatherford. A southern bypass (phase 2) will improve north/south traffic as well. These northern bypass route has been determined as part of the 2013 Thoroughfare Plan and the 10-year Capital Improvement Program that was developed by professional research and citizen input, which can be found in the 2013 Thoroughfare Plan and the Downtown Action Plan and the General Plan.
In regard to funding, the City of Weatherford has been awarded $11.5 million for the construction of the northern bypass ONLY (phase 1). The southern bypass route (phase 2) has not been determined nor has the City received design or construction funding at this time. The following concepts are simply concepts. Concepts mean that these drawings are simply ideas. In 2019, engineers will begin to schematic design the northern bypass (phase 1) to determine the final configuration. No design or schematic configuration for the southern bypass (phase 2) is funded. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2020 for the northern bypass (phase 1). Below is a simple breakdown of the project:
2018 – $11.5 million awarded to City of Weatherford with partnership from NCTCOG and TxDOT for norther bypass ONLY.
2019 – Engineers to begin year long-process to determine schematic configuration for northern bypass (phase 1).
2020 – Anticipated construction to begin for northern bypass (phase 1).
Beyond 2020 – Undetermined at this time because funding has yet to be acquired. However, City of Weatherford will continue to pursue funding options.
Other key facts about all phases:
Cherry Park is not being destroyed.
It is illegal to use eminent domain or condemnation for economic development purposes. However, eminent domain and condemnation can be used for transportation purposes, but the City prefers negotiated settlements.
Large destination trucks making deliveries to downtown businesses will be allowed in the downtown area. These are not normal pass through trucks because they come in and leave quickly. Destination trucks come sporadically versus everyday thru-truck traffic
Read more about the Heritage Square Project here