Andrews Truck Reliever Route Closed Indefinitely

Andrews Truck Reliever Route Closed Indefinitely

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - The City of Andrews may be seeing heavier traffic soon. The new truck reliever route that was just opened within the last year has been blocked off after sustaining some pretty bad damage.

So now trucks and 18-wheelers are going to have to find an alternate route through town.

Officials made the announcement on Monday. They say the triple-digit heat is to blame for closing off Loop 1901 and that it would be closed indefinitely.

According to City Manager Glen Hackler, there was a significant amount of bleeding of the asphalt, which basically means the tar was coming to the surface above the rock.

"It created conditions that it literally would be as though someone were stepping in tar with their foot and lifting it off," he explained. "It became very tacky, very sticky and would come up in clumps on tires." 

15 to 20 percent of the 17-mile stretch of road has been affected.

The problem areas are scattered down stretches of the road and appear to be various sizes between footprints to meteor rocks. The tar glistens atop the asphalt, making it seem as if it had just melted apart. 

Andrews resident Jack McCrery is anything but pleased.

"What I hate to see is spending the kind of money Andrews has spent to get that route for what I think is sorry work," he said. "It did not appear to me that they put enough asphalt to down to start with. Any place where it would come up it only looked like it was an inch or so, an inch and a half thick and that's not enough for the weight that's on it."

Meanwhile other residents are worried about returning to life before the route.

"I don't know where the semi's are gonna go because if semis start coming back here, it's going to cause problems," Eric Hernandez said.

Hernandez was referring to the potential for more accidents and traffic within the city.

Officials know there's an issue with the asphalt, though it's unclear if the source or application is at fault. They're also scratching their heads about why other roads weren't affected.

"The thing that perplexes us the most is the fact that the process that was used in this route is the same one that virtually every road in Andrews County was done and TXDOT predominately uses on projects in West Texas," Hackler said.

Additionally, the intersections at the tail ends of the route were handled by TXDOT, who hired two separate contractors unique from the ones working on the Loop. Those also exhibited similar effects.

Now the city is bringing in outside engineers and counsel to get to the root of the problem and to find a long-term solution.

"We don't just need to put masking tape on the problem, and so we're gonna do it and we're going to do it in the right way, but it may take time," Hackler said.

At this point, there have been no conclusions about who will be held accountable, how to fund repairs or any other solution drawn up.