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Nursery resident on U.S. 87 at FM 447: "It's still a terrible intersection"

By Melissa Crowe
April 9, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.


MPO Reports:

Victoria Transit: Ended Orange line to add to Red and Blue lines, and moved headquarters to Salem Road and John Stockbauer;Highway Projects: Airline Road overpass on target to let to contract in 2013, and retaining walls at Salem Road and Mockingbird Lane being built;Victoria Airport: Updating air service development and studies to attract a new carrier, and working with Caterpillar to raise interest for outside airlines;Port of Victoria: Moving forward with a truck staging area.

A rural intersection in Nursery, about six miles northwest of Victoria, is gaining a reputation for being fatal.

Diana Rhodes, who has lived near the intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm-to-Market Road 447 for 70 years, has seen more than her share of wrecks involving strangers, friends and community members. It is only a matter of time before she drives up on another.

Although Texas Department of Transportation installed flashing lights and reflectors, "it's still a terrible intersection," Rhodes said.

Last fall she approached the Victoria Metropolitan Planning Organization about building an overpass.

During Monday's meeting, the organization said the overpass was their preferred option to address the intersection.

The project, which could improve safety by 80 percent, is estimated to cost $7 million and would start in 2016, according to an engineering study. The state owns enough land already to build the project.

Randy Bena, of Texas Department of Transportation, said funding is available for 2016.

"Nursery just made the (Transportation Improvement Program) list," Bena said. "When funding or need becomes available, projects can be added."

The organization met Monday to update the 2013-16 project list, which also includes the overpass project at Airline Road and Zac Lentz Parkway in 2013, two bridge replacement projects in 2014, and pavement overlay on U.S. Highway 59 in 2015.

Bena also suggested looking into highway designations for Zac Lentz Parkway, and business U.S. highways 59 and 77, to make the names uniform.

County Judge Don Pozzi, who serves in the planning organization, asked about the Nursery overpass.

"There's no question all these projects are needed, or they wouldn't be on here," he said.

He wanted to know how important the project was and if it could be bumped up.

"The funding is available for 2016," Bena said. "If all of a sudden, another funding package ... came into play, we can accelerate that project."

State funding limits projects to specific funding categories. Only certain projects can use certain funds, Bena said.

Rhodes said with increased traffic from Cuero on U.S. 87 and more oil field trucks coming through, 2016 is not soon enough.

"I wish we had the funding to boost this project up," Rhodes said. "Anything we can do to save lives ... We have wrecks down there all the time."

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