LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Community leaders break ground on phase four of the Marsha Sharp Freeway Wednesday morning. Once complete, it will allow non-stop driving from Interstate 27 southwest to Milwaukee Avenue.
Phase four will take the freeway from where is stops now at Avenue L, to just east of I-27. Dianah Ascencio with the Texas Department of Transportation says the interchange will look very similar to the I-27 & north Loop 289 interchange.
The main lanes of the freeway will go underneath the interstate, and the access roads will cross over the freeway. "Phase four is a major milestone in the Marsha Sharp Freeway in that it will let you travel across Lubbock without stopping," Ascencio said.
The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. Ascencio says folks will probably see crews putting barrels and cones out Thursday, but major construction is scheduled to start Monday. Ascencio says they plan to complete the project in early 2012.
Ascencio says this project came in well under original estimates, with a final bid of $47-million. Original estimates were as high as $66-million, but phase four doesn't finish the freeway. Engineers are still developing phase five, which would take the freeway to the southwest end of Wolfforth.
"We still need to do the environmental process on that. We still need to do the right of way, and we still need to do some of the design work. So, phase five is still a few years off in the future, and of course there's always a funding issue. We still need to find the funding for phase five," Ascencio said.
Ascencio says folks will see additional construction start Thursday over on the west Loop 289. "There is going to be a lot of construction for the next couple of years around Lubbock. Not only do we begin phase four on April 1st, we also begin the West Loop Project that will rebuild the 19th Street interchange on April First as well," Ascencio said.
If you have questions about the freeway project, or any project in Lubbock or the South Plains, you're invited to attend Wednesday night's town hall meeting with TxDOT. It starts at 6:30 p.m., and will be held at the Lubbock City Hall in council chambers. You'll be able to get answers directly from TxDOT leadership.
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