Construction of new location extension for State Highway 11 to begin

Gasoline slips a penny, but drop expected to be short-lived

May 19, 2008 - SULPHUR SPRINGS - Texas Department of Transportation has recently awarded a $9.2 million contract to A.K. Gillis & Sons, Inc, of Sulphur Springs to construct a new traffic relief route in Southern Sulphur Springs, currently designated as the Highway 11 Extension project.

First conceived as at least a partial remedy to problems related to one-way service roads and rush hour traffic back-up at the Broadway Street overpass signals, the route will also open up a new sector for commercial and residential development in the southwestern part of the City. On the west end, it will tie into State Highway 19 less than a mile south of Interstate 30.

Extending to the east, it will cross FM-2297 (Arbala Road) and tie into the major intersection of SH-154 and SH-11 near Walmart and Lowes. Also, as a part of the same project, Highway 19 south of IH-30 will be widened down to the point of the new intersection being built for the new route.

"We are near the end of the process of acquiring the properties and relocating utilities," said Ernest Teague, TxDOT Area Engineer. "Actually, we have a delay built into the project to allow for the remaining property and utility issues to be resolved, but the contractor has indicated a desire to get to work on areas which are clear, in order to take advantage of good summer construction weather."

TxDOT met with A.K. Gillis representatives Friday morning to discuss options for an early start. "As soon as a few property owners get new fences erected, I think Gillis will be able to begin to make some significant headway, and that might be pretty soon," said Teague.

Recent wet weather has been the primary delay in getting the new fences erected, but just a few weeks of dry weather should be all that is needed to get that work done.

When completed, Highway 11 coming from Commerce will be diverted south on Highway 19 to the new "extension" and across to the existing SH-11 Winnsboro highway. At that point in time, the city will assume the maintenance of the old highway alignment through town, along portions of Houston, League, and Connally Streets.

"This is an exciting project for us," said Teague. In fact, he commented that it was a win-win-win, for City, County, and State. Teague added that each had participated in the project in significant ways. The City paid for property surveying, and deeds, as well as for the right-of-way map, in addition to agreeing to maintain the old route when the new one is completed. The County has provided funding for property purchases and utility relocations. And, of course, the State has provided the funding for construction of the facility. "We all stand to gain from this joint venture project in a great way," said Teague.

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