The largest single construction project in Lubbock is set to begin. Monday, May 16th, TXDot will break ground on a $131 million project, bringing the Marsha Sharp Freeway one step closer to completion. You won't notice the changes at first. But what you will see is a lot of dirt. Crews will move two million cubic yards of dirt, that's enough to fill South Plains Mall up four times. In the next few months, they'll start work on 4th Street from Avenue U to University, taking traffic down to one lane in each direction.
"There will be a reduction in the lanes along the Brownfield Highway in that area for about a five to six week period and then we hope to be able to restore traffic," explains Randy Hoppman, TX-Dot District Engineer.
TX-Dot urges you to drive slow, pay attention to changes, take an alternate route if you can.
Phase two of the Marsha Sharp Freeway should be complete in about three and a half years. But the entire project isn't scheduled for completion until the year 2022. For the first time we're showing you what the freeway will look like once completed. Once finished, the $450 million freeway will make it easier for drivers to access the downtown area, hospitals, and Texas Tech University from the West Loop to Interstate 27.
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Traveling eastbound on the four-lane Marsha Sharp Freeway from West Loop 289, the first major avenue we see is Slide road, the first bridge over the project. Notice the freeway is still on ground level.
To the right and left are sound barriers built to protect homes along the freeway. Moving on toward Quaker, another bridge connects the avenue to the freeway.
Approaching 19th Street, we see the freeway becomes more intricate, two flyovers connect the Freeway to 19th Street. Shortly after this is where the freeway is depressed 30 feet underground and remains this way until just before Avenue Q through Texas Tech University.
Further East, we get to the Texas Tech Parkway, where you can see another bridge structure. A walkway for pedestrians is provided just after the parkway, it's one of four part of the freeway project.
Next, we pass 9th Street. Fourth Street comes next, Jones Stadium is to the right.
Further East is University where shortly after we reach ground level once again. Then we get to Avenue Q, this is where the freeway is elevated through to I-27.
A total of 16 bridges and 4 pedestrian walkways make up parts of the freeway. Again this phase is expected to take about three and a half years. And the entire project is expected to be finished by 2022. But funding options, including the possibility of a toll road are up for discussion. All would speed up construction.
The first chance to voice your opinion on the issue is Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. A public forum will be held at Hutchinson Junior High cafeteria. That's located at 31st & Canton.