MIDLAND, Texas — We're only about three months into a major road project at the Loop 250 and Highway 191 intersection, with about 15 months to go, and TxDOT has now closed a couple of ramps in order to reverse them.
The plan is to reverse the ramps going both north and south on Loop 250 at the Wadley intersection, and westbound on Highway 191 at the intersection with Loop 250.
Reversing the ramps essentially means taking the current entrance ramps and making them exit ramps, then taking the exit ramps and making them entrance ramps.
Going eastbound on 191 toward Loop 250, the plan is to create a braided ramp in which the entrance ramp and exit ramp will overlap, with one going over top of the other. The ramp reversals on 191 have not started yet, but there is work being done on the service roads right now.
All of the work going on can lead to some major headaches for drivers, but TxDOT said they needed to get started with all of this work now.
"We just can’t wait to get the work done," Gene Powell, TxDOT Public Information Officer for the Odessa district, said. "The longer we wait, the more it costs to fix something. The longer we wait, the more hazards that are in place. Some safety projects like this one are important, and we’ve got the funding available and we need to move forward."
While doing work on both highways at the same time can cause problems, TxDOT said there's a good reason for doing them at the same time.
"It’s all work in the same general vicinity," Powell said. "By putting it into one project, we save taxpayers money because we have one mobilization. The work is related to each other because it’s all about safety there at that 250 intersection with 191, so it’s all related to each other."
While this work is likely to increase traffic in these areas, Powell doesn't believe it will be much worse than normal.
"There’s gonna be more traffic on the service road obviously with the ramps closed," Powell said. "They won’t be able to get on and off, and some of the traffic patterns will move to adjacent intersections, whether it be Wadley or Thomason. We don’t think those impacts will be tremendous, but there definitely will be some impact."
All the signs and road work can be confusing, but so far, TxDOT hasn't seen an increase in accidents.
"I have not heard of any increase," Powell said. "It was already one of the top 10 intersections in Midland for crashes. I haven’t heard of very many crashes in the work zone that have been major crashes. Obviously, I’m sure that we’ve had some, but nothing that’s been an alarming trend."