PALESTINE — The Texas Department of Transportation is alive and well in Anderson County, according to TxDOT representatives who spoke during a Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday at the Palestine Civic Center.
TxDOT District Engineer Randy Hopmann praised the community for “getting behind” TxDOT efforts and said progress was running smoothly on the $42 million project set to expand and renovate U.S. Highway 79.
“The city of Palestine did it, and Anderson County did it, and without your partnership, without your support, that project would still be unfunded today,” Hopmann told attendants.
The three-phase project will expand the road from two to four travel lanes with a continuous left turn lane in the urban section close to businesses. Outside of town, a dividing median will be added in the road along the Walmart Distribution Center and extending to the Trinity River.
Hopmann explained that the contractor has 880 working days to complete the project, with construction having begun in November 2012. Currently, 26 percent of the project has been completed according to funding paid out, and 30 percent is completed according to the time schedule.
“I'm pleased to report that this project is on schedule and on budget,” Hopmann said.
At the onset, workers began efforts to widen the existing northbound lane through a number of activities: extending existing drainage structures, constructing storm drains and inlands, and constructing walls and embankment to accommodate additional width.
Still in progress, workers are continuing to pour concrete to curbs, open gutters and driveways on the north portion of the project.
Placement of hot mix asphalt is expected to begin in early 2014, at which traffic will be moved to the new constructed northbound lanes and the contractor will “switch operations to do the same thing on the south side of the roadway,” Hopmann said.
Hopmann continued with updates on additional transportation projects for the county, which include the following: