ODESSA, Texas — New improvements and changes will be coming to those Texas rural roads that you drive on as years go by.
The Texas Transportation Commission will be giving even more money to the Odessa District to build stronger roads.
"We’ve gone from roughly $2 billion over 10 years to $3 billion in just the Odessa district," said Alvin New, Texas Transportation Commissioner. "When you put sand production and movement and water production and movement and then the extraction of oil and gas, we have a big challenge to take care of rural Texas and the Permian Basin that’s why we’ve increased the funding in the Odessa district."
These roads' infrastructure will be hardened and made stronger, so that big trucks and the heavy loads they carry can withstand them.
"Anything that brings in a lot of heavy vehicles, often times those roads are not built for those large vehicles and that creates a challenge. In an area with increased energy work, the system has to be built to handle those larger vehicles," said Rocky Moretti, Director of Policy & Research, TRIP.
More and more people coming to West Texas are also a big reason for these improvements.
"Because of all of the influx of people, the amount of oil and gas infrastructure going on and there’s also a lot of wind and solar energy in West Texas so we have increases in needs for rural roads to support that type of investment in infrastructure," said New.
The Commission has dedicated over $400 million to I-20 to provide safer roads for everyone to travel.
"$489 million has been put in place to support the I-20 development in Midland-Odessa, one of the least safe places in the state to travel. There’s tons of traffic, bridges being hit and so the entire Commission has been to put a lot of funding in the Midland-Odessa area on that project," said New.
"That is why we are spending an enormous amount of money and enormous amount of effort to help get those roads built up and get them divided, get shoulders on them, passing lanes and we’ve been able to get that done over the last three years and we’ll continue to emphasize that effort," New said.