Amarillo, TX - Drivers in Amarillo may soon be forced to deal with detours and extra traffic, but the Texas Department of Transportation says the end result will be worth it.
It's almost always unavoidable, but traffic is expected to get worse before things get better on Loop 335 by I-27. "There are going to be some delays, there may be some temporary closures," said Paul Braun, with TxDOT. "It's going to be inconvenient for a while, but when it's done, it's going to be a very safe and very easy flowing piece of roadway."
City councilmen gave the green light to relocating city-owned utilities in the area, to make room for future development. "We'll probably have this part done in 18 months. Then TxDOT has to do all the roadway work which will extend well beyond that," City councilman Brian Eades said.
TxDOT is expecting construction to begin in March. When it begins, construction will start at the intersection of I-27 and the loop. The road heading east, all the way to the South Washington intersection will be turned into two lanes heading each direction. Lights at those intersections will be removed and replaced with overpasses and access roads, in hopes of easing some of the congestion.
But some area business are worried the detour and added traffic during construction will drive away business, while others are looking on the positive side. "For the Waffle House, it's going to bring in business," says employee Ricky May. "Construction workers, the traffic slows down and people aren't going to want to sit in the car for this long, so 'I'm gonna get out and have me a cup of coffee' or something like that."
The $32 million dollar project is expected to take at least two years to complete.