WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Texas Department of Transportation has some important projects on the horizon.
“We have a lot of money wrapped up in some really tremendous, some huge projects in our district, levels in which we have seen before,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Adele Lewis said.
One of those, the U.S. 82 Gap Project, will turn Seymour Highway into a four-lane divided highway.
“Over a process of about 5 years, we’ve come to the realization that this is the preferred alternative by the community,” Lewis said.
To do that, they will need to add a left-turn lane splitting the current four lanes as required by the TXDOT Trunk System, which connects all cities over 50,000 in population, all ports, military installations, national parks, and more throughout the state.
But that won’t come easy, considering they’ll need to widen 4.5 miles of the road.
“We chose to buy property from both sides of the right of way, thus alleviating the need to relocate businesses or homes along the route, there are only two properties that will need to be relocated or moved back,” Lewis said.
And one of those properties, Bully’s Bar and Grill, is unsure of their future, and owner Rick Shouse said it’s been 16 years and they’re not slowing down yet. They’ll be open like always, even if time is ticking.
But how much time is still up in the air, considering TxDOT receives no federal funding for the trunk system and this project is an estimated $16-million just for construction alone.
“We don’t have money to purchase right of way, we don’t have the money to construct it, so, therefore, we are several years out from actually building this concept as of this point,” Lewis said.
It may be several years out but TxDOT saw the impact changing this road from two lanes to the current four.
“More people moved there, more businesses moved in down the corridor and so it got built up over time but once upon a time it was just a sleepy little two-lane road,” Lewis said.
With this new project, a hope to duplicate that.
Another project you may see sooner will be a similar trunk system project, that will widen Highway 82 from Nocona to Ringgold at $48 million, with TXDOT possibly eyeing a winter start if everything goes right.