Crossroads to get about $19M in upgrades

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Aug. 7, 2013 at 3:07 a.m.

Certain areas of the three U.S. highways that vein through Victoria will see upgrades beginning this fall.

Four projects - two of which are in Victoria and two of which are in Lavaca and Wharton counties - were funded through the Texas Department of Transportation for about $19 million and will take several weeks to months to complete, according to a transportation department news release.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved $7.8 million to fund a new, four-lane, undivided overpass on U.S. Highway 59 that crosses U.S. Highway 87, also known as Port Lavaca Highway in south Victoria.

The new bridge will replace the divided southbound and northbound overpass that is there now. Construction is expected to begin in October and be completed by March 2015, the longest completion time frame of the four projects.

A second Victoria project is a landscaping upgrade approved for $28,000 at the intersection of North Navarro Street and Zac Lentz Parkway.

Part of the Green Ribbon Projects, the funds will go toward making the area off the roadway more scenic, said Mark Cross, information specialist with the state transportation agency.

"They like to get the locals involved and listen to what they want to see," Cross said.

Cross did not know whether a town hall meeting for public comment had been set but said the improvements can range from adding grass and dirt to planting trees and shrubbery. The project is expected to begin in September and be completed in October.

Two other projects, one for $8 million and another for $3.2 million, will widen two narrow, congested roads, Farm-to-Market Road 532 in Lavaca County and FM 102 in both Wharton and Colorado counties.

The FM 532 project will widen the two-lane road anywhere from 1 to 3 feet for a 13-mile stretch between Alternate U.S. Highway 90 and the Lavaca/Fayette county line, according to the release.

The project is expected to begin in October and be completed by May 2014.

Farm-to-Market Road 102's reconstruction is expected to begin in October as well and be completed in March 2014.

Pavement will be repaved, and the shoulders will be widened for a 5.7-mile stretch of FM 102 from Senior Bridge Road in Wharton County to Farm-to-Market Road 3013 in Colorado County.

Phil Wilson, the agency's executive director, said the key is to relieve congestion without compromising safety.

"Keeping travelers moving safely and efficiently will continue to be an ongoing priority as Texas welcomes almost 1,000 newcomers each day," he said in a news release.



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