by Victor Lopez
ANDREWS--After years of waiting for it to happen, repair work along Highways 115 and 176 is almost complete. The Federal Government is footing the bill and the city is already feeling the effects of construction.
"Just our commerce, our transportation is a vital part of commerce in any community," Director of Community Development, Scott Wallace, said.
The City of Andrews has been waiting for about ten years to have some major repairs done on one of the major roads in town.
"The road was really damaged and a lot of stress fractures in it. It had a lot of problems in the road, prior to the project coming about. That's one of the reasons that they actually decided to take it on now instead of later. If we didn't get it done, with this money, the project might not happen for another 10 or 15 years," Wallace explained.
Thanks to federal stimulus money to the tune of $4.1 million, the Texas Department of Transportation has been working since mid July, from the East end of town to the West.
"Basically we're going in there, in that truck route, west and east, and replacing all the mix, all the pavement. We're also doing ADA ramps at all the intersections. We removed all the barricades to allow people access to get across the streets," TXDOT Asst. Area Engineer, Chad Windham, said.
Wallace says, since construction began, it's brought a bit of an economic boost to the city, "I'm sure that the construction company that is doing the project has got a lot of employees that are from out of town, seeking to stay here."
But it hasn't been all wine and roses.
Limited access to store fronts along Broadway has been common for much of the last 5 - 6 months. While it's starting to take it's toll on some business owners, Wallace says the result in the end will be well worth the headaches now, "They've been understanding that when this is done, it's going to be a great project for them to have done. It will be a benefit to them, later on."
With a recent beautification project downtown, Windham says, the work TXDOT is doing ties in beautifully, "They're doing some pavers and some sidewalk, tree grates and stuff like that to match what Andrews has done around the courthouse."
Weather permitting, construction should wrap up around late February or early March.
When asked about being picked, Wallace added, "We were ecstatic about actually being able to have the project take place."