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Goliad intersection almost complete, state official says

By Sara Sneath
Jan. 15, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

The final stages of highway upgrades to U.S. 59 South in Goliad are wrapping up as crews fabricate forms that will become sidewalks.  Work on the intersection began in January 2013, and the state says the work is substantially complete.

GOLIAD - Cecil McCracken, 88, of Goliad, sat at a small table with a Styrofoam cup of coffee looking out the window of BFD Tire Shop in Goliad on Wednesday afternoon.

McCracken has seen trucks hauling giant windmills, houses and a giraffe pass through the intersection of U.S. Highways 59 and 183, which sits in front of the shop.

"You name it, and I've seen it come down the road," McCracken said.

McCracken has also seen the Texas Department of Transportation completely rebuild the intersection. Work on the intersection began in January 2013 and is almost complete. McCracken said it was worth the wait.

At one point, the intersection was down to one lane in each direction and the traffic was backed up to Dollar General, which is about half a mile away, McCracken said.

BFD Tire Shop, formally Harold Joe's, closed its repair shop in February because the entrance was blocked by the construction, said Irma Rodriguez, the shop manager. She said the owner is waiting for the work to be complete to reopen. For now, BFD Tire Shop keeps a small storefront open to serve coffee, she said.

"We're not sore about the fact. We're not enemies," Rodriguez said of the state transportation agency.

She said she eats lunch with the construction crew chief and serves coffee to some of the workers.

Reconstruction of the intersection is substantially complete, said Rickey Dailey, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman in Corpus Christi. He said the work replaced the existing asphalt pavement with a thicker and more durable concrete pavement at the intersection and for a block in each direction.

"This intersection carries a high volume of vehicular and large truck traffic, and the new pavement is designed to require less maintenance," Dailey said.

The project also added lanes and wider turning areas so large trucks would no longer have to swing into oncoming traffic to make a right turn, he said.

Dailey said the estimated cost of the project is $3 million.

"I don't even care how much it cost. It's well worth it," McCracken said.

He said before the work was done, he frequently saw wrecks at the intersection.

"The other intersection was so small, you had to crawl around each other," McCracken said.

He said trucks often knocked down the street posts and had trouble making right turns.

"I think it's great," McCracken said of the new intersection. "They've got it to the point where it's bearable."

Dailey said some landscaping, curb and pedestrian signal work remains.

"There is also some minor asphalt work that needs to be completed, but that probably will be delayed until better weather," he said.

McCracken took a gulp of coffee again, looking through the window.

"You know how to tell when they are finished? When their trucks are all loaded up, and they're going down the road," McCracken said.



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