City Looks to Begin Road Realignment Project

Wichita Falls city leaders want to get started on the big Call Field/Rhea/Lawrence realignment project.  And the sooner the better, because they want to have it finished before the busy shopping season begins in November.
    But first, the city must purchase two pieces of property.
    Katie Crosbie joins us now from near the old Faith Village Shopping Center with more.
    Doug, city councilors gave the go-ahead for city staffers to use eminent domain, if that's what it comes to.  But staffers say they don't expect that to happen.
    They're looking to buy a section of the Kohl's parking lot, and this tiny 275 square foot section of part of the grass parkway by the old Faith Village.

It's already one of the busiest intersections in the city.  So what will happen once construction is underway?

Russell Schreiber
W.F. Public Works Director
"Well, fortunately, most of the work -- as you probably saw from the alignment -- is out of the right-of-way now.  So, the contractor can do a lot of the work without ever having to interrupt the traffic flow there."

But of course, that won't last once workers start actually transitioning the roads.

"There'll be some congestion.  For how long, I don't know for sure."

Public Works Director Russell Schreiber says the traffic control plan will have to maintain two-way traffic.

"The public typically find the ways to get around it -- to avoid it, if they can, so to speak. Maplewood obviously is a good route that comes in, ties in the middle of Lawrence road down there."

But before any of that can begin ... the city needs to purchase two properties.  There's the small patch of grass near the old Faith Village Shopping Center --

Pat Hoffman
W.F. Property Administrator
"It's right on the corner, it won't affect their parking, any of their business or buildings or anything. It's a very very small triangle."

And then there's that piece in the southwest corner of the Kohl's parking lot.

"We're very optimistic hopefully that that will also be a willing seller/willing buyer. The tricky part to that is it's got several parties involved."

The owner of the real estate property is a company based out of Canada ... then there's Kohl's (a tenant), and sub-tenants.  So part of the challenge is getting everybody onboard.

    If all goes as planned, construction could begin in early spring ...
    City staffers want to have everything finished before the busy shopping season around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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