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The Texas Facilities Commission approved a lease at the corner of East McKinney Street and Mayhill Road where Denton’s new Department of Public Safety office is expected to open in 2021. The county outgrew the location on Loop 288 long ago. The Texas Legislature appropriated the funds for a new office in its last session.

Denton’s new driver’s licensing office won’t be too far from the current one, planned for the southeast corner of East McKinney Street and Mayhill Road.

The Texas Facilities Commission approved a lease for the new Texas Department of Public Safety office in November. However, officials didn’t announce the deal at the time. Worth Farabee, a legislative aide for state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, said the project still requires a zoning change from the city.

The additional steps for the project’s approval mean the former timeline to open Denton’s new driver’s license office in December of this year is too ambitious. Officials don’t expect to open until February 2021, Farabee said.

The current driver’s licensing is too small for Denton and has been for some time. In 2017, customers were already waiting an average of 39 minutes to get help with their licensing. By 2019 — and after DPS opened licensing “mega centers” to help with the load — the wait time skyrocketed to more than an hour in Denton. Meanwhile, customers at the Garland and Carrollton mega centers waited an average of 2:13 and 3:39 hours, respectively.

Stucky touted the legislative victory that in 2019 budgeted enough money to build a new licensing office in Denton. The new office will have 12 workstations, an increase of seven stations, and will bring in 16 more employees to serve customers.

“I want to commend the constituents who came forward and worked with me and my staff to provide input to DPS during the past two years,” Stucky said in a statement. “Our efforts informed the planning process so that this facility meets the needs of our rapidly growing communities in Denton County.”

Road construction could dampen some of the joy of motoring to the new office. A city contractor expects to complete the widening of Mayhill Road into a four-lane divided thoroughfare by spring 2020.

However, construction on East McKinney Street from Loop 288 to Grissom Road is underway and will continue through 2021.

The $18 million city project is converting a former two-lane, farm-to-market state road into a four-lane thoroughfare separated by a dedicated turn lane, which should improve drive times to Ryan High School and homes and businesses in the area.

The city has not yet scheduled a public hearing on the zoning change for the new driver’s licensing office.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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