Local leveraging efforts by the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance, Odessa Development Corporation and Midland Development Corporation have secured additional funding for more local road projects to be completed in the next decade.
The Texas Transportation Committee approved these projects last month, adding them to the Unified Transportation Plan, which spans from 2017 to 2026. Projects in Odessa include:
- Improvements (lighting and signals) at the intersection of Loop 338 and 52nd/56th Street.
- Signals at Yukon Road and West Loop 338.
- Construction of a new interchange/overpass at SH 302 and West Eighth Street.
- Construction of a new overpass at Yukon and SH 191.
- Construction of a new interchange/overpass at Faudree Road and Business Interstate 20.
The additions also include improvements for Midland, including construction of new overpasses at Loop 250 and CR 1140, and at I-20 and Midkiff Road, as well as funding for additional improvements along SH 349/FM 1788 from I-20 to SH 191.
MOTRAN President James Beauchamp said the additions came from leveraged funding from ODC and MDC, who both committed to use $15 million for the projects listed.
“Part of the problem is there weren’t any projects we would determine as shovel-ready,” Beauchamp said. “Anytime there’s available money, we were having a hard time because there weren’t any ready projects.”
So by dedicating money to these projects, it helped to expedite the process with TxDOT, who have now awarded an additional $121.2 million in state funding for Midland-Odessa roadway infrastructure. The region was originally expected to only receive $173 million in state funding for 2017 to 2026, bringing the total funding amount to about $294.2 million.
“This is phenomenal,” ODC Chairwoman Betsey Triplett-Hurt said. “The improvements that they have listed for Odessa were projects that would not be considered for 10-15 years, and by moving them up, oh my gosh, this is phenomenal.”
Triplett-Hurt said the importance of acquiring funding for these roads came down to economic development and safety.
“If we don’t have well-maintained roads that are properly laid out to get people to and from work safely, we don’t have good economic development,” she said.
The significance of these projects, she added, is it will help to keep trucks off of city streets by allowing them to move around Yukon Road and West Loop 338, and the improvements of lighting and signals at the intersection of Loop 338 and 52nd/56th Street will help to prevent accidents.
That could help to lower the amount of crashes and fatalities in the Permian Basin, which have gone up significantly from 2016 to 2017. Ector County saw nearly 3,000 crashes and 48 fatalities in 2017, the second highest number in the Permian Basin region. Midland County had the highest number, with 4,441 crashes and 50 fatalities.
“We’re going to meet 2017 and surpass it,” Beauchamp said about the number of crashes. “So at this point, if we can get things done soon, if we can bring additional dollars to this table, we just look at that as really a positive thing.”
Beauchamp said the timelines for each individual project were fluid, but to expect construction on all of them to begin within a two- to three-year period.
Contact Paul Wedding at email@example.com or by calling 432-333-7786.