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Eagle Ford: Transportation department offers 60-day notice on road conversions
AUSTIN -- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is providing county officials 60 days to review plans to convert damaged roads to high-end unpaved roads in the state’s energy-producing areas before proceeding with the work, according to an Aug. 28 TxDOT press release. During that evaluation, the department will not move forward on converting other damaged roads unless there is an immediate safety concern.
“Our job is to provide the drivers with safe roads,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “We believe our plan to potentially convert 83 miles of significantly damaged roads in the energy sector is the safe and sensible solution with TxDOT’s available funding. At some point, when drilling activity has subsided and more funding is available, we plan to rebuild these roads to paved farm-to-market levels. The unpaved roads are a temporary solution, and I look forward to collaborating with the Legislature and local governments to identify long-term solutions that ensure safe and modern roads.”
TxDOT will be coordinating town hall meetings with legislators, local elected officials, property owners, and communities to ensure that all concerns are heard before proceeding with any action. County officials may also request that TxDOT proceed with its conversion plan in their area. Public involvement is key to awareness of the situation.
“We are committed to working with elected officials and citizens in the affected areas and will be meeting with them to discuss our plans for improving their damaged roads,” Wilson said. “We are open to suggestions for alternatives that will meet our safety standards.”
To date, two roads -- a 3-mile stretch of I-37 frontage road in Live Oak County and a portion of F.M. 1916 in Dimmit County -- have been converted to high-end unpaved roads. Both roads suffered extensive damage from heavy oil field truck traffic. Potholes, sheared shoulders, and broken pavement were replaced with a wider, smoother, safer high-end unpaved driving surface. Speed limits on the unpaved roads are being reduced.
For more information, visit TxDOT.gov.
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