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County Roadway Improvement Plans Take Shape

Posted on January 30, 2019

The Ector County Highways and Streets Department identified roadways in need of pavement improvement as part of the county’s proposed 2019 Road Project Plan.

The department’s director, Evans Kessey, presented information to the Commissioners’ Court Dec. 20 that highlighted reconstruction and rehabilitation projects that include roadway widening and pavement upgrades. The majority of tasks are focused in Precinct 1.

“Ector County is one of the largest counties we have in West Texas and we maintain a 585 mile radius of roadway, of which Precinct 1 carries most of the miles,” Kessey said. “We have a lot of people moving into the county and we have to be able to accommodate them with our infrastructure.”

Kessey’s report stated a budget of $2.5 million will fund the various projects with the end goal being to preserve, extend the life and increase the load carrying capacity of existing roadways.

Two streets have been proposed for reconstruction projects in Precinct 1: West 42nd Street and East 67th Street.

Kessey said that an estimated 2.1 lane miles between Highway 302 to FM 1936 on West 42nd Street will receive upgraded pavement using an asphalt hot mix that will better sustain traffic and truck weight that is wearing down the current material. He said the new material will be denser and have a longer shelf life.

The report stated East 67th street will have an estimated 1.8 lane miles with a rebuilt base and restored overlay to improve structural integrity and reliability. The road will also receive a countermeasure device to mitigate runoff water at the U.S. Highway 385 intersection.

“Right now this is a proposal for 2019,” Kessey said. “There could be uncertainty during the project timeline, but my goal is to finish the project by the specified budget year. Some reconstruction projects may enter into 2020.”

Kessey said the goal would be to complete all projects in-house, but that would not be realistic.

“We have the expertise, but not the personnel,” he said.

Rehabilitation projects for areas on Cottonwood Road, Papaw Street, 57th Street and Redondo Avenue will have to be outsourced. About 68 percent of the allocated funds will go toward outsourced projects in the proposed plan.

Kessey said an ad hoc transportation committee formed in June will also continue to provide long-term recommendation to the Commissioners’ Court about the entire roadway network in the county. He said the committee will influence road prioritization based off of factors such as congestion, safety, system preservation, right-of-way and operational efficiency.

The committee consists of five members: Kessey, Public Works Project Manager David Peck, Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers, Chamber of Commerce Member Roy Allen and county resident Martin Zuniga.