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Residents of a North Dallas neighborhood worry about new DART rail construction

Residents of a North Dallas neighborhood worry about new DART rail construction
Residents of a North Dallas neighborhood worry about new DART rail construction 02:56

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A Dallas leader worries that new construction work on DART's new rail line could pose a public safety risk to thousands of residents. 

Work officially began on Aug. 15 on a tunnel that's part of the Silver Line Regional Rail Project that will significantly alter traffic flow on Hillcrest Road, a popular north-south corridor. 

Over the next few weeks and months, Hillcrest Road will, at times, be reduced to one lane or shut down entirely so DART can complete the rail line that will link Collin County to DFW Airport. 

How much that will affect emergency responders and traffic in neighborhoods has everyone here talking. 

These three longtime residents of The Highlands at McKamy neighborhood in Far North Dallas worry that the road that cuts through their quiet, enclave of houses will soon become loud, busy thoroughfare. 

"It's not that I'm dreading it," said Steffani Bailin, who lives in the neighborhood. "I'm fearful. I'm scared."

Bailin and two of her neighbors believe a lot of traffic will find its way to Meandering Way when Hillcrest Road is impacted from construction that began there today on DART's Silver Line to DFW Airport. 

"I think it will be very dangerous," said Lois Orrico, a neighbor. "I walk on the trail I walk on the sidewalks. My company comes and walk on the sidewalks and the cars go too quickly here now, with more traffic at it. It's only going to be a nightmare."

DART says it plans to direct detoured traffic to Preston Road or Coit Road and plans to install "Local Traffic Only" signs on the street on Meandering Way, where CBS 11 happened to witness an accident while conducting interviews. 

"I retired recently from Franklin Middle School, which is the middle school that our neighborhood feeds into. And so I know that they're walkers to that school and kids are not always as careful as they should be," said Kay Marshall, a resident. "So the traffic is already goes probably faster than it should on our street. And if it's busier and faster, you know, I think that it's going to be an issue and I'm concerned about that."

Dallas City Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn has been critical of the rail line constructions impact and wants assurances that emergency vehicles will not be impeded.

"Because we are the farthest north part of North Dallas, we often don't get the same response and so to then cut off some really big roads, I'm worried about that," Mendelsohn said. 

DART said in a statement that it continues to work closely with the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue to develop and implement solutions and enhancements that will ensure that all emergency vehicles will have full and unfettered access.

This project was supposed to take six months but city officials said they've been told it could take up to a year. 

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