Why All The Road Construction In Amarillo?
Have you noticed the massive amount of road construction going on in Amarillo? From Hillside to 34th, there’s literally about a dozen road construction projects going on right now. One of the biggest complaints, is the bridge work going on!
So what’s up, why all of the sudden is there so many road construction problems going on?
Rumors were floating around that TxDot had to take on the projects before the end of the year, or else they would lose funding by not spending the money. Well, we’re here to clear the air so to speak. I spoke with Paul Braun at TxDot and he gave a pretty clear and understandable explanation.
OK. Here’s the scoop on the Georgia and Crockett overpass projects on I-40. These two projects have been on the books to complete for a while. The bridge joints needed replacing because they were no longer flexible enough to withstand traffic and weather patterns, and were causing break-ups on the bridge deck (concrete surface) itself. Replacing the joints will save wear and tear on vehicles and the bridge deck. This is part of normal maintenance and was scheduled out two years ago.The eight bridges being replaced on US 87/287 north of Amarillo are a different story. During a routine inspection in 2011, it was discovered that the piers on one of the bridges was crumbling at the core. Subsequent inspections of the other bridges, all built about 50 years ago, showed the same problem. Because of the pier problems, these bridges reached a deficiency level that qualified them for immediate replacement. Due to the severity of the deficiency, our engineers decided to reduce traffic on the structures to one lane in each direction, rather than close the bridges down and switch traffic to the frontage roads until the new bridge designs could be completed, approved, and a contract could be approved. I have included a press release we sent out detailing the problem. Once the contract was approved, work began. Instead of doing all of the bridges at once, which would have had an adverse affect on through- traffic on US 87/287, it was decided to stagger the bridge replacements over a two-year period. The two sets of bridges at St. Francis and Cherry Streets have been torn down and should be replaced and open by December, then work will begin on the next two sets of bridges at Willow Creek and FM 1719.
Below you will find the news release he references in the quote above. Rest assured, the projects are in no way being done just to “use up money”.