Commissioners approve road plan - Odessa American: News

Commissioners approve road plan

Odessa American oanews@oaoa.com | Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 3:00 pm

A 20-year plan for improvement and rehabilitation of Ector County roads was approved by county commissioners during a Tuesday meeting.

Director of the Highways and Streets Department Evans Kessey said the plan would cost more than $116 million over two decades. The need is largely due the growth of the oil and gas industry, which has put an “ever-increasing demand on the county roads and created congestion on many county roadways which need to be addressed …,” a summary of his plan said.

Population and business growth also are factors, Kessey said.

Broken down into 10-year increments, the short term (2020-2025) amount is $34.8 million; mid-range (2025-2030) is $30.2 million; and the long-range (2030-2040) is $51.5 million.

 In a handout, Kessey said prior to 2017, many of the projects in the County 2040 Improvement and Rehabilitation Plan were unfunded in the budget projections for future years. He said this changed with the strategic investment plan for the future of Ector County.”

“In approaching the funding requirement, it will require another $3 million going into the Highways and Streets Fund from the recently passed County Assistance District sales taxes for routine maintenance operations from 2021 forward. The additional sales tax investment in the transportation system, together with the anticipated state dollars will add many of the necessary resources to fund the County 2040 Improvement and Rehabilitation Plan,” the information said.

A five-year Highways and Streets Capital Improvement Plan will continue to be updated yearly in each precinct and “will ensure a fair and reasonable determination of project priorities in accordance with the overall transportation needs of the County, especially in dealing with the impact of energy development in the county.”

He said a significant long-term project will be to extend roads directing north and south to State Highway 302, interstate 20, Cottonwood Road and Farm to market Road 3503 in precincts 1, 2 and 4, and to extend all roadways directing west to east to Farm to Market Road 866, West Loop 338, West Yukon Road and U.S. 385 (the Andrews Highway) in precincts 1 and 2 over the next five years. He said the improvements will require more than $30 million a year.

He noted that the city does not accept heavy weight vehicles.

“They will give you a ticket right now. What they do is they catch up and they use county roads and that is deteriorating almost all the pavement, so we have to come up with a strategy,” Kessey said in an interview. “We’re not going to let it be the way it is because the more we allow it to be the way it is we are going to spend more money in the future to fix it, plus the people in the county will also not be happy in terms of the infrastructure we give to them.”

Kessey said the county held town hall meetings about the County Assistance District and voters approved it so the funds must be used for road improvements. He noted that bad roads also affect the economy. Businesses will lose money and people will not be happy because it takes so long to commute.

In other business:

The district will likely pay for the costs itself.