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Ennis Daily News

TxDot, Ennis discuss bypass

Construction of the first phase of the Hwy. 287 Bypass project, which will expand the highway to four lanes, might happen sooner than expected if the state approves the funding.
Representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation were on hand at a scheduled public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss those possibilities. City Manager Steve Howerton said he thought the meeting was a good thing for residents and community members had their voices heard.
"I believe the meeting was very positive and that the community represented was allowed to voice their opinions regarding the project," he said. "I did not hear any opposition to the project and I believe the TxDot representatives understand the importance of this project to the community."
The project has been put on hold several times even though Howerton said the city has fulfilled its obligation by building a service road for the project. Officials with TxDot estimate the cost of the project at $39.1 million and Howerton said he was told bid letting for the project could begin as early as the fall, depending on whether or not the state accepts the proposed economic stimulus package.
"We are waiting to see whether or not the economic stimulus package passes and if the state accepts it," he said. "Specifically, they need to approve the project and the funding for it. The TxDot officials worked very hard to get the project ready to be included in the stimulus package and we appreciate their hard work. We are hopeful the stimulus package will be accepted and phase one of the project can begin."
The bypass project will run from the Ennis Airport at W. Hwy. 287, past Hwy. 34, to the area near Ensign Road. With more than 11,000 vehicles traveling that stretch of roadway per day, the city has asked TxDot to expedite the second phase of the bypass project if funding is secured for the first portion.
Howerton said the project is essential for the community, so much so that the city has been planning for the expansion for three decades.
"The project has been something the city has been planning for the past 30 years because of what it will mean to the community," Howerton said. "There are serious safety issues with the current bypass situation, which the expansion would help alleviate, and it would also add to the economic development of the city. We believe businesses will locate along the bypass and that growth is important for the city’s future. We are very excited at the possibility of seeing $39.1 million of public works funds to help improve the city of Ennis."

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Posted by on Feb 26 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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