Precinct 1 focus of road projectsProposed steps may help crumbling streets

The Ector County Highways and Streets Department will begin the next steps that will lead to repairing deteriorating county roads.
The Commissioners’ Court approved a request for qualifications Tuesday to serve as a screening step for firms and services. The procurement process is not a bid, but allows firms to present their qualifications for the requested engineering and project management services prior to the Court’s approval of the specific county road projects.
The department’s 2019 project plan suggests reconstruction and rehabilitation pavement improvements that would aim to preserve, extend the life and increase load carrying capacity of existing roadways. The majority of tasks are focused in Precinct 1.
Highways and Streets Department Director Evans Kessey said he is focused more on repairing entire road systems that are a concern than fixing potholes. Public Works Project Manager David Peck previously explained to county residents during a town hall in October that just repairing potholes would not be enough to address infrastructure problems.
“Our goal is to quit doing these temporary patches and do some really good resurfacing to where we don’t have cracks and issues,” Peck said.
He said potholes would be likely to return after repair if issues like drainage and road capacity were not addressed first. Kessey said although Moss Avenue received attention in 2015 with a widening project, it is back on the department’s radar due to cracks in the pavement caused by increased oilfield traffic. He said West Edna Street and Knox Avenue are facing similar problems with more people using those roadways.
Kessey said improving the riding surface of Moss Avenue from Interstate 20 past West University Boulevard to West 57th Street would be a goal. He also plans to propose items to the Court about widening Knox Avenue and extending the right-of-way on 57th Street, north of Murray Fly Elementary, to better accommodate the needs of that area.
The ad hoc transportation committee formed in June is continuing to support Kessey in prioritizing county roadway projects. The committee consists of five members: Kessey, Public Works Project Manager David Peck, Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers, Chamber of Commerce Member Roy Allen and county resident Martin Zuniga.
While Kessey turns his attention more toward new reconstruction projects to consider for the future, he said the committee hones in on already deteriorating roadways and works to find ways and means of preserving those roadways. He said members rank prioritization based off of factors such as congestion, safety, system preservation, right-of-way and operational efficiency.
“We just bring whatever expertise we have to the plate so that there’s not just one person tasked with making all of the decisions,” Peck said.
Kessey encourages the public to reach out to those on the committee to express their roadway concerns.