KARNES CITY – In an unprecedented effort to address roadway safety, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is aggressively moving resources into several South Texas counties experiencing an economic boom from oil and gas production.
“TxDOT’s mission is to provide a safe and reliable transportation system for the state of Texas. The increases we are seeing in traffic, however, is making this a challenge in some of our South Texas counties. TxDOT recognizes this and is working hard for the public to meet these challenges,” said TxDOT Corpus Christi District Engineer Lonnie Gregorcyk, P.E.
The latest example began Monday, July 8, when about 50 workers, some from other areas of the state, dedicated time to improving the safety and integrity of roadways in Karnes, Live Oak and northern Bee counties. For about 10 weeks, these crews will repair and rehabilitate roadways as well as address safety issues such as edge drop-offs and potholes.
Corpus Christi District crews will be reinforced by personnel from the TxDOT Pharr District who will be working on FM 2049 in Live Oak County and by a crew from TxDOT’s Yoakum District who will be deployed to FM 627 in Karnes County.
Also on Monday, work began on FM 81 between State Highways 80 and 123 in the Panna Maria area under a $3.4 million emergency contract.
The work that began Monday is in addition to some higher profile safety improvements already under way in response to the increased traffic volumes. These include:
• The addition of a passing lane on SH 72 near Pawnee; $8.4 million
• Pavement repair and construction of a new passing lane on U.S. 181 between Kenedy and Tuleta; $8.6 million
• Roadway maintenance on FM 626 from FM 99 to SH 72 and on FM 1353 from U.S. 181 to FM 2102 in Karnes County; $3.3 million
“The Texas Transportation Commission and the TxDOT administration are laser focused on maintaining and improving the safety of South Texas roads, and they are doing all they can to provide the funding and resources we need to meet these challenges,” Gregorcyk said, adding projects already completed include the widening and seal coating of FM 2102 and the seal coating of SH 72.
And plans have been developed for FM 882, FM 798 and FM 791.
“TxDOT will have a high presence in northern Bee, Karnes and Live Oak counties for the foreseeable future,” Gregorcyk said.