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Victoria highway getting spruced up

By DAVID TEWES
Dec. 3, 2010 at 6:03 a.m.


SOME FACTSThe state is spending about $1.5 million to rehabilitate freeway sections of Zac Lentz Parkway and the feeder roads.

An average of 12,000 vehicles a day use the main lanes and feeder roads.

The initial portion of the highway near Navarro Street was completed about nine years ago and the section near Main Street about two or three years later.

Christy Gonzales said she really hadn't noticed a problem with the highway and feeder roads in front of the Super 8 Motel she manages in north Victoria.

But she said she was glad the Texas Department of Transportation was making the repairs, because her customers use the roads to get to her business.

In fact, Gonzales said, she doesn't even mind the short-term inconvenience. "It will pay off."

Randy Bena with the Texas Department of Transportation said the work began early last month and will likely carry over through the holiday shopping period. But he said efforts are being made to reduce problems for businesses and shoppers.

"We're trying to get them to take care of the areas now that would be more of an interference to Christmas traffic, so it will be less inconvenience later this month," he said. "They'll be working out there every day they can."

Bena said the state is spending about $1.5 million to rehabilitate deteriorating sections of the road, which have received no major repairs since the turn of the century.

"We didn't have enough to do the whole loop from Salem Road over to Main Street like we wished we could have done," he said. "So we picked out the worst areas of the main lanes and the frontage roads."

Once the work is completed, the frontage roads will be paved with a smooth surface hot mix. The main lanes of Zac Lentz Parkway will be paved with a seal coat, referred to by some as tar and gravel.

Typically, the main lanes would be paved with the hot mix and the feeder roads with the seal coat. But Bena said the frontage roads for the parkway actually carry more traffic than the main lanes, which is why they will get the best paving.

"There's about 30 percent more traffic on the frontage roads than the main lanes because of the shopping area," he said. "Some people never get on the main lanes to go between Main Street and Navarro."

Some have questioned why repairs are needed on a relatively new section of highway. But Bena said people are surprised when he tells them the initial section of highway was completed nine years ago.

"I tell people this and they go, 'What? Really? It hasn't been that long,'" he said.

Bena said while the highway has held up better than he anticipated, engineers knew it would probably need repairs not long after it was built. But he said the project cost more than expected at the time, and the state had to cut back on the pavement design.

"We have the knowledge to build roads that will last a whole lot longer," he said. "We didn't have the money to put into the pavement at the time."

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