As many as 42 property acquisitions are looming in Denton — or have been completed — ahead of an upcoming highway improvement project by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Jack in the Box location at 2200 S. Interstate 35E, which closed in early March, is one of almost four dozen properties in the path of an upcoming interchange improvement at the intersection of I-35E and Mayhill Road.

The estimated $77 million project, for which construction bids are slated to open in early 2023 if utility relocations are completed on time, will involve the reconstruction of the interchange and the existing four lanes of frontage roads from Loop 288 to Pockrus Page Road.

While TxDOT spokesperson Emily McCann could not release a full list of land parcels impacted by Friday afternoon, they are concentrated in the area around the north and southbound I-35E frontage roads between Pockrus Page and Loop 288.

“We’re widening the frontage road in a lot of places, so that’s going to be primarily where those parcels are,” McCann said.

The levels of impact on properties needed for the project will vary, she said.

“Sometimes it’s just a small portion of a property for things like utilities, drainage or sidewalks,” McCann said. “There may be a handful of new parcels being added as the project progresses.”

Of those 42, six are in negotiations, four are in the eminent domain process and 32 are in TxDOT’s possession. Right of way acquisitions by TxDOT involve negotiations between property owners and the department for the purchase of the land after a series of other steps, including the holding of public meetings, environmental clearance and appraisals. If a voluntary agreement cannot be reached with property owners, TxDOT can begin the eminent domain process, which allows government agencies to acquire property — with compensation to owners — for public use.

TxDOT has not yet purchased the Jack in the Box parcel, but it has been identified as being needed for the project and it’s possible the agency would purchase the property in the next few months, McCann said.

“I assume that those conversations [with Jack in the Box about purchasing] have happened because we have identified that parcel as needing to acquire it, but the paperwork hasn’t been signed and I don’t have it in my system,” McCann said.

TxDOT is “still acquiring appraisals and titles for the parcel,” McCann said.

Jack in the Box media representatives did not return multiple calls and follow-up emails sent to determine whether the chain plans to relocate to another property near the Mayhill Road area.

AMBER GAUDET can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at amb_balam.

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