ECTOR, TX-Ector residents met with TxDOT Thursday voicing their concerns about the intersection of Highway 82 and FM 898. They said it's unsafe and only an overpass will fix the problem.
TxDOT said an overpass on FM-898 and Highway 82 was part of a plan drawn 30 years ago. But financial constraints and competition for funds statewide forced them to put the overpass on the backburner and that's not sitting well with residents.
Jim Glaser passes through the Highway 82, FM-898 intersection everyday and said he's had too many close calls with heavy traffic.
"It's such a terrible intersection. You have to look 5 or 6 times trying to put yourself in between heavy traffic and you just barely get across two lanes. If they're making it 4 lanes, it would be impossible," he said.
Right now, TxDOT is widening Highway 82 from two lanes to four from the Grayson county line to Bonham. Glaser said an overpass should've been part of the project.
"The land was purchased with a promise of an overpass would be built in approximately 7 years and that's nearly 15 years ago and we're still being told it's in the future. So I think the future is now for us," he said.
Glaser and dozens of other Ector residents called this town meeting with TxDOT hoping find out why the overpass has not been built. TxDOT Assistant Area Engineer, Noel Paramanantham, said the overpass was part of a plan drawn back in the 1980's while Highway 82 was being built but there have been setbacks.
"Ultimately as a longterm solution, we'll have an overpass in this location. Again there's no actual time frame for this, it could be a short time frame, it could be a long time frame, but it all depends on the available funding," he said.
Paramanantham said building an overpass will cost about $5 million and that project will be competing for grants with other projects in the state. But listening to residents concerns will help TxDOT determine if any alternative modifications for the intersection would fit the budget.
"If there are some safety issues, we will address those. It will not be in the form of an overpass but it could be other modifications that can be done, geometry of that intersection, other turn lanes," he said.
"I'm hoping that it will make them cognizant of the fears and the safety that we have for our families in the area and that they will start appropriating funds so that they can be building this overpass," said Glaser.
TxDOT said as the traffic flow and population increases around that intersection, the more urgent it will be to build an overpass. Residents also signed a petition for the overpass at the meeting, so far it has over 300 signatures.