Concrete and asphalt play a major role in everyone's life. Southeast Texas saw some major transportation initiatives in 2012. Whether a major reconstruction project or a simple resurfacing of a farm-to-market road, they are improvements designed to make life a bit easier.
The top projects of 2012 include:
SH 82. It is not a big highway. However, it is one of the most important roads in Southeast Texas, linking major refineries and plants. TxDOT is nearing completion on rebuilding a two-mile stretch between SH 73 and SH 87. Work also includes replacing the Alligator Bayou Bridge. Work is expected to be completed this spring.
SH 105 Cleveland Loop. Traveling SH 105 is now much easier. The new loop around the southern part of Cleveland opened this fall. It helps eliminates truck and thru-traffic through the city and means a much quicker travel time through Cleveland and the opportunity to develop the downtown area.
While no dirt is turning, the Concord Road project is officially underway. It includes completely rebuilding Concord between Lucas and Eastex Freeway. The widening project, paid for with federal funds, and in reality a City of Beaumont initiative, will complete a major route between Eastex and Cardinal Drive. The city is currently moving the final utilities before construction crews begin work. Look for highway crews early this spring.
Neches River Bridge
The biggest project of 2012? It most definitely has to be the Neches River bridge (Purple Heart Memorial bridge). The $59 million project to rebuild one of the most popular bridges in the Golden Triangle is in the early stages. In just a couple of weeks, traffic all east and westbound traffic will be switched to the north side of the bridge. Workers will then close the eastbound lanes and begin demolishing the old structure. There will always be two lanes east and two lanes westbound.
The New Year also promises some new projects sure to have an impact on the area's highway system. They include:
Completion of the I-10 project in Orange County between SH 62 and Womack Adams Bayou. The project is in its final stages and includes a new concrete highway and exit ramps.
Rebuilding I-10 in Orange County between Adams Bayou and the state line. This section of interstate is one of the oldest in Texas. The new project will rebuild the entire highway including a new frontage road crossing the railroad tracks just east of SH 87. Work could begin in early summer.
Perhaps the most important project in Southeast Texas might be the effort to improve the Eastex Freeway at Delaware and Lucas. This project includes relocating some entrance and exit ramps, extending frontage roads and preparing US 69 for even more improvements. This project kicks off in mid-2013.
While these are fairly significant projects, they may not be the most important. It isn't necessarily the price or the size of project. It may not even be about how many motorists it impacts. The most important project might be the simple resurfacing of a small rural road, new shoulders or even a traffic signal.
The most important project is the one that affects you and makes your daily travels safer.