For 10 years, there has been talk of an outer loop, such as a loop outside Loop 289. On Wednesday, council members turned talk into a million dollars of action.
More than 40 years ago, when the loop was built there wasn't much around it. However, jump forward to 2008, the City of Lubbock now expands past the loop and continues to grow. Which is why city leaders say now is the time to start planning for the future. "The Loop is getting more and more congested. In 10 years it is going to be more congested. It's time to start planning now," Chairman of the Lubbock Metropolitan Planning Organization Councilman John Leonard said.
In 2007, TXDOT launched a similar study. However, due to government cut backs it was suspended. But Leonard says it's now time to get that study going once again. "We felt like it was important enough from the planning perspective that it needed to move forward and so we found some money from our Metropolitan Planning Organization, the county kicked in some funds and the city kicked in some funds," Leonard said.
The city will put more than $350,000 toward the possibility of an outer loop, which is the same amount the county will also dish out. The LMPO will pick up the rest of the $950,000 bill. It appears to be an expensive price tag. However, Leonard says as more neighborhoods go up the cost of an outer loop can increase.
So to save your tax dollars, Leonard says planning must begin now. "Whether you're planning a dam for a lake or a future highway you have to begin the studies at some point even though you realize construction maybe 10 or 20 years down the road," Leonard.
While it's still early there is already talk of putting an outer loop in the 1585/179 corridor. Leonard tells the study and plans for another loop will take one to two years to complete.
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