JBS Extension May Add New Industry in Ector County

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - It's not just concrete and asphalt, the newest expansion on Ector County Commissioner's agenda is expected to change the way industrial workers come and go.

"It's a difficult area to navigate once you get outside city limits," Ector County Judge Susan Redford said.

They're planning to connect the intersection of JBS Parkway and I-20 all the way down to Loop 338. Officials say that's going to have a huge impact on industrial development.

"Right now in Odessa with the closing of Flint Hills Resources and a downturn in the oil industry, we need to expand our industrial base and we need to diversify our industrial base and we really think that this south extension of JBS Parkway is critical to the diversification and expansion of industry," Odessa Economic Development Director, Gary Vest, said.

TXDOT will work on the multi-million dollar connection and part of the bill would be split between the city, county, and the development corporation meaning no cost for taxpayers. Congressman Mike Conaway even helped defray the total adding half a million in federal dollars.

"It's extremely important because the OIDC Industrial Park is built around JBS coming through there as a major North to South arterial through Odessa and Ector County," Vest said.

Ector County Judge Susan Redford tells NewsWest 9, this extension would create higher visibility and bring new opportunities for businesses.

"If we wait until next year, next year's budget is not going to be quite so liberal, that's why time is of the essence for us to act now," Judge Redford said.

The Commissioners Court will meet this coming Monday to decide if they want to participate and how deep they'll get involved. If they give the project a greenlight, a new roadway will likely be about three years away.

"I think this affects the entire county as well as the entire Permian Basin because what we would be doing is opening up another corridor for construction of industries, other businesses, and I think this would be a huge attraction as one of the issues we face when companies are looking at moving to the Permian Basin is our traffic issues, our transportation issues," Judge Redford said. "If you open this corridor for them, I think it's invaluable for all of us."