Helium plant causing concern for Loop 335 expansion - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Helium plant causing concern for Loop 335 expansion

The old helium plant on Helium Road, Source: KFDA The old helium plant on Helium Road, Source: KFDA
Current construction at Soncy and I-40 causing even more congestion in that area, Source: KFDA Current construction at Soncy and I-40 causing even more congestion in that area, Source: KFDA
TxDOT plans to expand Loop 335 west to Helium Road, Source: KFDA TxDOT plans to expand Loop 335 west to Helium Road, Source: KFDA
I-40 overpass at Helium Road, Source: KFDA I-40 overpass at Helium Road, Source: KFDA

TxDOT officials said the biggest concern moving forward with the Loop 335 expansion involves the old helium plant.

They plan to expand the loop westward onto Helium Road to alleviate traffic on South Soncy.

The expansion would run through the old helium plant on Helium Road.

That plant is all but empty, but it could be registered as an historic building, and some are concerned the loop construction would ruin that.

"There are going to be no buildings in that area affected by the Loop 335 project," said Sonja Gross, TxDOT Amarillo Public Information Officer. "But there will be some right-of-way acquisitions that will have to happen to make this project successful."

And before anything can move forward with construction plans, an environmental review of the area must take place.

"Environmental review will continue to be ongoing and after that's completed, which should hopefully be early summer to late summer of next year," said Gross. "Then we can start working on the right-of-way acquisitions."

Another hurdle TxDOT may face involves a water well near a future intersection where the expansion would head west from Hollywood Road.

That would need to be moved.

And a few families will be displaced by the construction.

"The project has been designed to have as minimal impact as possible on residents and businesses," said Gross. "Sure, with any construction project there is going to be some right-of-way acquisition."

Overall citizen response to the expansion has been positive.

"The way it was done on Soncy did not work out," said Amarillo resident Emmett Autrey. "There are so many grade level crossings on it. The way I think this is going to be done is...going to be a great benefit."

By the time you start to see dirt moving on this expansion project, it'll be spring 2019.

TxDOT engineers say from that point, the project would take another 3 about three years to complete.

Anyone who wishes to submit comments or concerns regarding the loop updates can do so through TxDOT's website.

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