Wet Weather Slows Construction and Threatens Crops - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/19/04

Wet Weather Slows Construction and Threatens Crops

"Farmers need sunshine and heat. Open warm weather from now until harvest," says Roger Haldenby, Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers.

While the record rainfall we've had this summer has been a blessing to many, a cool down and a watering relief for grass; cotton farmers need heat and sunshine this time of year and construction crews need it dry to work.

We've all seen the construction on West Loop 289, as TxDOT creates the Marsha Sharp Freeway. Crews have been working rain or shine, around the clock but while the task here is big enough to work in the wet weather other construction projects across town are dealing with big delays because of all the rain.

So far this year Lubbock has received more than 17 inches of rain, that's about five inches above normal. So what does all this rain mean? "The rain is great but not necessarily for highway construction," said Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Penny Mason.

Mason says they are behind on some projects, but were already ahead of schedule on others. "We've got the Marsha Sharp Freeway project on the West Loop and on that project there are always things that the contractors can do when it's raining, so they've been able to keep going."

For projects like Indiana Avenue through Texas Tech, the future Parkway drive, it's a different story. "In areas where your working, like your building a road and your in the dirt working on the sub grade like on Parkway it's been kinda difficult, because when it rains you can't work and when it's muddy for several days after that you can't work so there have been some delays on that," Mason said.

As for the farmers the rain has been welcomed but the cooler temperatures are not. "We need some hot sunshine, we've had plenty of rain unlike the past few years, so now we need some hot sunshine so we can develop to bowls," Cotton Farmer Scott McAllister said.

McAllister and Roger Haldenby, Vice-President of Plains Cotton Growers agree this years crop still looks really good. "The crop is looking very good at this point we just need an open fold to bring it in," Roger Haldenby said.

According to Plains Cotton Growers this years crop is set to be the best since a record crop in 1949.

As for the Marsha Sharp Freeway, they are currently 63% finished, 175 days ahead of schedule.

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