• August 11, 2020

City prioritizing road projects - Odessa American: News

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City prioritizing road projects

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2019 5:10 pm

The City of Odessa is working with the Permian Basin Metropolitan Organization to help prioritize road projects for the next 25 years.

Public Works Director Tom Kerr and Traffic Operations Supervisor Hal Feldman, who is also the Permian Basin MPO vice-chair, presented City Council Members last week with a map of the city showing roads highlighted with different colors to prioritize them on levels of importance. Once each Council member has looked over the priorities and made their own suggestions, Feldman said the MPO policy board will sign off on it and send it to the Texas Department of Transportation in Austin for final review.

“In conjunction with the MPO, we’re looking at projects that’ll increase safety and traffic efficiency, and to be able to score those we have to have a partnership with the city and from that we can forward that off to TxDOT to hopefully get funding for those projects,” Assistant City Manager Phillip Urrutia said.

Right now, the ‘A’ projects include improving nearly all of Loop 338, converting more of it into a freeway, and improving and widening parts of Highway 385 from Interstate 20 to 10th Street, and I-20 from JBS Parkway to FM 1936. Less prioritized projects include improved mobility and added capacity on Business I-20, and widening FM 1882 from Yukon Road to Highway 385.

This is all part of the MPO’s 2045 plan, which essentially acts as a timeline for the various road projects the MPO would like to see TxDOT work on during the next 25 years.

“What we’re trying to do is get from the city’s perspective of how the projects rank out, ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’,” Feldman said. “So we’re working with the MPO, we’re giving them all of our ‘A’ projects, and we’ll be working on prioritizing those ‘A’ projects.”

At-Large Council Member Peggy Dean said one of the improvements she considered worth looking at would be Highway 385 from I-20 to Second Street, which takes drivers directly into downtown Odessa.

“Because people get off of I-20 sometimes to get into downtown, and that area is gonna be just as important as an extension of downtown,” Dean said.

District 4 Council Member Tom Sprawls said he would like to move up an improvement from ‘B’ to ‘A’ that would reverse the overpass at Highway 191 and Loop 338, which currently runs over Loop 338. Sprawls said he knows the project would be expensive, but said it was needed due to the amount of truck traffic.

“We just need a bigger highway to handle all that traffic,” Sprawls said.

Feldman said it is the goal to eventually make the entire loop a freeway, which he said is typical of loops and would be the ideal situation for Odessa.

TxDOT is currently conducting a couple of local studies, Feldman said, including one looking at the entirety of Loop 338, and also another study is being conducted on the I-20 corridor, running from West Odessa to the east side of Midland, to look for ways those two roads can be improved.

Odessa, TX

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