By Wyatt Goolsby
The pothole problem on Industrial Avenue isn't new for many Midlanders or business owners in the area. But after years without any official road maintenance, the pothole-filled section of the road can expect to see more repairs. Union Pacific Railroad told NewsWest 9 they have reached a sort term agreement with the city to take care of the pothole problem. And business owners said it's a good first step.
"I'm just really excited that it's going to be fixed. And that they've reached an agreement...because it really is dangerous. There's a lot of big rigs that travel up and down this road as well as regular vehicles. And we're just waiting for a bad accident to happen and I'm just glad that it's going to be resolved," said Steve Claybaugh, who owns Discount Materials on Industrial.
For years, West Texas drivers have had to deal with all kinds of road damage on Industrial Avenue. In fact, we told you about one local man, Jim Choate, who took it upon himself to get out there and fill the potholes himself. And many local business owners like Claybaugh support his work.
"We saw him out there working and breaking a sweat, and realized that he had bought a lot of his own concrete, and put his own personal time in, and we wanted to do everything that we could to help," explained Claybaugh.
But Union Pacific, who is responsible for the road, told Choate to stop filling the potholes without city permission.
"I personally had a conversation with Mr. Choate, who's really a well intentioned person, and our only concern was obviously, you know, that he is doing work that could put him in danger, and we certainly didn't want him to get hurt," said Joe Arbona, with Union Pacific Railroad.
Union Pacific has now come up with a short term agreement with the city. The bottom line - the city can now go and fix the problem. But city officials said it's going to take more work to find a long term solution.
"It's going to take a lot of effort, to make things happen, it's going to take a lot of cooperation not only by public officials, but also union pacific, and also many of the business owners that are located on that route and have used that route," said Chuck Swallow, the Director of Development Services with the City of Midland.