by Victor Lopez
ODESSA - According to Glen Larum with TXDOT, this new interchange is the beginning of new and better things for the City of Odessa.
"It's the end of this intersection as we know and the beginning of the intersection as we'll know it in the future."
When everything is said and done, drivers who travel down Highway 80 on a regular basis will be able to use this elevated interchange.
"When it's completed, people will be going to the top of the interchange to turn either north, south, east or west, depending on where they're coming from," Larum said.
Larum says the new interchange will be a new entrance to the City of Odessa, that will let people come in right off of I-20 and right into the retail district.
And for people who are worried about semi's and 18 wheelers, Larum says, "The city has said there will be no truck traffic on this JBS Parkway."
Despite the torn up streets and road blocks, complaints have been limited, from businesses and residents alike.
The original proposal drew harsh criticism from residents.
"You can understand their concerns, this is a big interchange. We're going to put it right in their neighborhood. But now, "Most people find it very easy to get to all the businesses. The hotels have said that they continue to rent rooms. The restaurant has continued to serve food," Larum said.
Larum says traffic along the construction site has been perfect and would like to thank the Odessa Police Department for helping out.
"We appreciate the assistance of the police department. We asked them to kind of keep and eye on us, and they've been very good about that. In fact, people would say they've been real good about that."
If you don't travel down Highway 80 regularly, you may want to take a good look now because, according to Larum, "If you don't go by for a couple of months, you'll be surprised the next time you come by this intersection."
If everything goes according to plan, the whole project should be complete, by January of 2009.