A $7 million maintenance project on State Highway 11 west of Sulphur Springs has been approved for funding through the federal government’s economic stimulus package. The project was one of only five priority maintenance projects considered for the funding by officials in the Paris District of Texas Department of Transportation, which oversees state highway projects in Hopkins County.
The Texas Transportation Commission announced Thursday that SH 11 will be one of the projects developed using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the economic stimulus package.
But the decision is also good news for residents on State Highway 154 south of Sulphur Springs.
“We’ve been assured by TxDoT is that we’re going to get money for State Highway 154 south and State Highway 11,” Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said today. “Those are probably two of our most unsafe roads in the county.
In July of this year, TxDoT will accept bids for the reconstruction of 3.4 miles of SH 11 between Ridgeway and Sulphur Springs. The project will consist of realigning the roadway to accommodate two 12-foot lanes — each with 10-foot wide paved shoulders — and a right turn lane at County Road 4738.
The profile of the roadway will also be adjusted to correct sight distance concerns, according to a press release from the Paris District Engineer Bobby Littlefield’s office. Enhancements to the horizontal and vertical design features of the road — i.e., the “hills and dips” in the road — are expected significantly improve safety of this portion of SH 11.
This particular widening project on SH 11 would not have been possible at such an early time without funding from the federal economic stimulus plan, according to information from Tray Turner, public information officer with the Paris district. By freeing up needed funds, the improvements to SH 154 can begin sooner than originally expected
“My staff is working diligently to accelerate the SH 11 project to be ready for bids in July. We can then start focusing on the SH 154 project,” said Littlefield, who was born and raised in Sulphur Springs. “We have listened to the people’s concerns and we are responding quickly. Additionally, the SH 11 project will help stimulate the economy of Hopkins County which is the focus of the federal bill.”
Millsap noted that people living on both of the state highways have expressed strong concerns about safety on these roads.
“I was glad TxDoT made that announcement, because we’ve got a lot of constituents that have really been after county officials and state officials to get these two projects moving,” Millsap said. “They’ve seen what we’re doing with the Highway 11 extension from State Highway 19 to State Highway 154, they seen what we’ve done with Hillcrest Drive and SH 19, and the project on widening SH 19 south of Interstate 30. And people want more done to the roads they drive.”
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