More county road work slatedCompletion of West 42nd rehabilitation, Cottonwood Road widening set

2021 is a big year for the Ector County Public Works Department with ambitious projects including completion of the West 42nd Street reconstruction and widening 8.2 miles of Cottonwood Road in Commissioner Greg Simmons’ Precinct 2 through Gardendale. Having struggled against the effects of the pandemic through most of 2020, Public Works Director Evans Kessey recently told county commissioners that his department had nonetheless marked a productive year, using revenues from the new 1.25-cent sales tax.
Kessey’s 2021 plans entail spending $5.2 million to widen, upgrade and improve drainage on 3.1 miles of West 42nd from Farm to Market Road 1936 to Moss Avenue, where a troublesome dip will be leveled, concrete culverts constructed and water drainage pipes installed.
In a $7.2-million job, Cottonwood will be widened and the pavement rehabilitated from U.S. 385 to the Midland County line.
Drainage will be improved and a grade channel built for $1.4 million on the tenth of a mile of Redondo Avenue from 16th Street to University Boulevard.
Other planned improvements and widenings this year include a mile of West 87th Street in Precinct 1 from 385 to North County Road West for $789,000 and four miles of Apple Street in Commissioner Armando Rodriguez’ Precinct 4 from 385 to Jasper Avenue for $1.4 million.
Sixty-five miles of sealcoating are scheduled, mostly in Precinct 4, for $1.4 million.
“We’ve done some road resurfacing in Ponderosa and Gardendale,” Simmons said. “The big project on the horizon is widening Cottonwood from two to four lanes with a turn, which will help with the oilfield traffic.
“Highway 158 gets a lot of traffic and it will alleviate some of the congestion in that area.” Most of Kessey’s work with his staff and contractors Danny’s Asphalt Paving, J&H Construction and others has been in Precinct 1, where Commissioner Mike Gardner said engineering was underway for phase two of the West 42nd job.
“We’re doing some diversion to keep water off the highway right before you get to Moss,” Gardner said. “We’ll put in water lines instead of having to go underneath it.”
Last year, West 42nd was widened and upgraded over the 2.1 miles from Highway 302 to FM 1936 for $3.3 million while bids were opened for reconstruction and drainage improvement on four-tenths of a mile of East 67th Street from 385 to Stevenson Avenue with a scheduled maximum cost of $998,000 there.
County highways and streets employees sealcoated 43.5 miles of roads for $1.2 million.
In Precinct 4, the staff performed full-depth reclamations with a stabilized base course for deteriorated pavement on Windmill Avenue in Pleasant Farms and Tampico and Sonora avenues in South Ranchito.
County-wide, they did 123 miles of pavement striping, installed 177 new street name signs, installed stop bars and arrows at 48 intersections and repaired and maintained 815 regulatory and cautionary signs and posts.
“The goal is to provide road maintenance and perform sealcoating on all 585 miles of roads in Ector County, but staff and other resources do not meet the standards for all precincts,” Kessey said.
He said 986 square yards of pavement were restored on Taxiway E at Schleymeyer Field for $49,000 while three new keypads were installed at the airport’s new entrance for $41,000.
A $1.4-million bid has been awarded to BC Electric to extend the airport’s apron and install a medium approach lighting system. The installation of security cameras is planned at the north and south gates and beacon towers.
Delivery is expected in April of a $266,938 grapple truck to be used by the highways and streets and environmental enforcement departments to curb illegal dumping. A grapple truck has a loader mounted to its frame for loading bulky waste.