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Home News-Telegram News Work to improve SH 11 west of SS starts on Monday

Work to improve SH 11 west of SS starts on Monday

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Work on a $4 million construction project that will make parts of State Highway 11 west of Sulphur Springs a lot safer for motorists is scheduled to begin Monday.

Bids were recently awarded to D.L. Lennon Inc. in Commerce for the construction project located on SH 11 from half a mile east of FM 2653 to 3.92 miles east of FM 2653. The winning bid was $4.16 million.

Work crews will widen the highway and add shoulders on the 3 1/2 miles of highway.

Traffic flow will be maintained during construction; however, some delays should be expected. The estimated completion date is in the summer of 2011.

The project is one of many to improve the highway that Bobby Littlefield, Paris District Engineer for the Texas Department of Public Transportation, discussed at a January meeting on safety. In addition to this project, transportation officials also lowered the speed limit, added more visible signs and shored up the eroding edges of the road.

The meeting was the result of some two years of work by Shirley Patchen to get the attention of state highway officials to make the road safer. Patchen was motivated by the death of Jessica Lynn Owens, the daughter of Jay and Teresa Owens of Sulphur Springs, who was 18 when she died Sept. 28, 2006, after he car ran off of SH 11 and hit a tree.

“No parent should have to go through what they have because the state failed to provide us with safe roads,” Patchen said at the Jan. 21 meeting.

Littlefield also said then that the only reason TxDoT can afford the upcoming project is because the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District, which owns the railroad tracks running along the north side of the highway, is willing to let the highway department use its right-of-way to expand the road.

“This allows TxDOT to widen SH 11 without acquiring any additional right-of-way by shifting the alignment of SH 11 toward the railroad,” said Brad Martin, Assistant Area Engineer in TxDoT’s Greenville Area Office.

The existing road is being reconstructed and widened from two 12-foot lanes to two 12-foot lanes with wide shoulders, 10 feet on the south side and 12 feet on the north side.  Turn lanes will also be constructed at the County Road intersections.

“I am pleased that TxDoT was able to deliver this safety improvement project on SH 11 as a result of our public meeting held in January,” said Littlefield, whose district oversees highway projects and maintenance in Hopkins County and eight other counties in the region.

The project is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly referred to as the economic stimulus package. The Texas Transportation Commission approved stimulus fund spending in February 2009.  TxDOT identified the needed project based on initial requirements for readiness established in the stimulus bill, engineering needs and in coordination with local officials.

“We were able to accelerate the development of this project and take advantage of the stimulus funding,” said Littlefield.




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