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Wylie freight hub expected to increase region's traffic

More intermodal transport containers could be on their way through the area northeast of Dallas, thanks to a new center being built by Kansas City Southern Railroad in Wylie.
Shelly Kofler

Interstate 30 from Dallas into Northeast Texas is changing – and even more changes are coming. In the third of three installments, KETR’s Mark Haslett speaks with North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director Michael Morris.

Haslett: The biggest factor in the future of Interstate 30 in Northeast Texas will be the rate of growth coming from Dallas, as country towns become suburbs. A couple of developments in the commercial world could also have an impact. A new Panama Canal being built near the existing one is expected to double the amount of ocean freight traveling through that route. That could mean a dramatic increase in goods arriving in Texas ports and then being transferred onto trains or trucks. Some are worried that the new Panama Canal – scheduled to be operating by 2016 - could lead to a stampede of 18-wheelers on Texas highways, including I-30. North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director Michael Morris says the situation bears watching, but isn’t necessarily alarming.

Morris: The Panama Canal opens somewhere east of Miami with regard to the north-south axis on our globe. It’s considerably east of us. It’s probably not going to have as much impact as everyone thinks – and it’ll have more to do with maybe exports of liquefied natural gas than it does with exports.

Haslett: Morris thinks that a bigger factor could be a development much closer to home. To be specific, in Wylie. This summer, Kansas City Southern Railroad broke ground in Wylie for what’s being called an intermodal facility. If you’ve ever seen those big shipping containers on trains, you know what an intermodal container is. Sometimes called fright containers or sea cans, the units can go on trucks or trains. If the new center is completed on time in mid-2015, related traffic northeast of Dallas should increase.

Morris: So it’s very close to State Highway 78 and that connection between the lakes. KCS is a very famous Class 1 railroad. KCS is a big player in international goods to and from Mexico. They have the right to build their intermodal facility. We would want it to be successful. That I think has a direct bearing on why so much attention was given to this other toll road project in that location – to help mitigate the impact from the KCS intermodal facility.

Haslett: North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Director Michael Morris, in the third of three discussions about the future of Interstate 30. 

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.
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