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City budget allocating money to improve unpaved roads

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Early voting is underway, with a $174.5 million street bond on the ballot. If it passes, the City of Lubbock will rebuild and widen roads and make improvements to Broadway’s brick.

Some viewers have reached out to KCBD Newschannel 11, asking why the city is considering spending this money on areas like Broadway, when some roads aren’t paved inside city limits. Councilwoman Shelia Patterson Harris says the city has been working to pave these roads, mile by mile, for years.

“Prior to being on the council, it was one of the things that I ran on when I sought the position for district two. I was concerned about the fact that there were unpaved roads within this city, in this day and age, that we still had unpaved roads,” Patterson Harris said.

The Lubbock City Council placed a bigger focus on fixing the problem in 2017, with the Unpaved Road Program. Since then, council has awarded about $3.7 million in construction contracts for unpaved roads, for the first three phases.

“These are some of the things that are really important to so many of our citizens and it goes to safety, for me to make sure that they’re able to get to and from without difficulty and all,” Patterson Harris said.

In June of this year, council dedicated $9 million in Certificates of Obligation to paving unpaved roads. The Future Needs Committee recommended a list of roadways totaling more than 5 miles, with almost half of them in district two.

$9 million in Certificates of Obligation for unpaved roads.
$9 million in Certificates of Obligation for unpaved roads.(KCBD)

Patterson Harris says there are more roads that need to be on the list, but there’s never enough money to do it all.

“Streets are one of the most expensive things to fund for municipalities, but we, it’s not been for a lack of work,” Patterson Harris said.

The streets department helps council determine which streets have more houses, see more traffic and what they connect. Monica Rivas, who’s lived near 37th Street and Hickory for 30 years, says her street never makes the cut.

“Why are they spending so much money on rebuilding or reconstructing streets and we can’t get any help? It’s not a lot of street to pave, but we get nowhere?” she said.

Rivas and her neighbors pay for storm water in their bills, but when it rains, Rivas says not much drainage happens. She says she’s been contacting the city for over a year, asking for the road to be paved.

“I understand Lubbock is growing. Everything is going southwest, or whatever. But you can’t forget the rest of Lubbock just because of everything else that’s growing,” Rivas said.

Patterson Harris says the list of roadways recommended for the $9 million will most likely become the design for “Phase 4″ of the Unpaved Road Program. She says while it will take time, getting these roads paved is all part of the plan.

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