The Texas Department of Transportation broke ground last week on a project that will provide the local community with a limited access freeway facility along Spur 327 from the South Loop to the Brownfield Highway (US 62/82). Traffic will be down to one lane at the Milwaukee intersection for both the Spur and Milwaukee.
The Spur project will be built in two phases with the first phase from the South Loop to just east of Milwaukee Avenue. This phase also includes an interchange at Frankford. Plans call for building main lanes and rebuilding the frontage road system along the Spur, and constructing a concrete intersection at Milwaukee in preparation for a future interchange that will be built in the second phase of the project.
In addition to the Milwaukee interchange, the second phase includes extending the main lanes from Milwaukee to the Brownfield Highway and building an interchange at US 62/82 and the Spur. But the second phase won't take place until TxDOT starts the last phase of the freeway.
Phase 5 of the Marsha Sharp Freeway includes extending the freeway to about a mile southwest of Wolfforth, said James Combes, Brownfield TxDOT area engineer.
"The goal right now is to complete the Frankford Avenue overpass to alleviate traffic congestion and to prepare the area for a full freeway facility," added Combes.
With population increases in Southwest Lubbock, traffic volumes have increased causing some congestion, particularly during morning and afternoon commute hours. Transportation planners realized at least 12 years ago that the rapid growth in that portion of the county would mean a need for future improvements. Though improvements were in the plans, funding constraints prevented the department, city and county from moving forward on the project, said Steve Warren, TxDOT director of transportation planning and development. Schematics were completed in 2004, but environmental studies didn't start until several years later.
"The idea to turn the Spur into a limited access freeway goes back a long way," said Warren. "Actually, the footprint for a freeway has always been there, from the beginning. We bought additional right of way when the Spur with the intention of expanding the highway later."
The contractor is Austin Bridge and Road. Project cost is $23.5 million. Completion date is sometime in late 2008 or early 2009.
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