TxDOT slates May 15 meeting to discuss US 60 rehab here

The Texas Department of Transportation is in the early stages of designing a full rehabilitation of US 60 in Canadian, from Birch Street to Main Street—a project scheduled for bid-letting in fiscal year 2022. As part of the planning, TxDOT officials announced this week that they will sponsor a Public Involvement Open House at City Hall on Tuesday, May 15, in order to discuss those plans with local business and property owners, and other stakeholders.

The construction project will involve replacing the existing roadway with concrete paving, and will include ADA elements, sidewalks on both sides of the highway and shared use lanes. It is scheduled for letting in FY 22, with an estimated cost of $4.4 million.

Kit Black, TxDOT’s director of transportation, planning and development in Amarillo, has discussed the project’s scope and timeline with City Manager Joe Jarosek, in an effort to identify any potential utility conflicts, and to modify the roadway design, where feasible, to avoid those conflicts.

The repair and replacement of aging infrastructure is a top priority for city officials. Jarosek has said the city recognizes and hopes to take advantage of the potential to coordinate the replacement and relocation of city-owned utilities with TxDOT’s work on US 60.

By working with TxDOT, there are potential cost savings for the city. The ability of the city to time its replacement of some utility lines with TxDOT’s excavation work could result in some cost savings.

If it is determined that city-owned utilities are in conflict with the roadway project, those utilities must be relocated. It is still uncertain who will be responsible for funding that work, if needed. However, state administrative code stipulates that if the utilities were in place prior to the agency assuming the roadway as a state highway, then TxDOT must fund up to 90 percent of the relocation costs. If the TxDOT roadway was there first, the city would bear those expenses.

According to TxDOT Public Information Officer Sonja Gross, it is more likely to expect that both the city and TxDOT will pay a portion of utility relocation costs. However, she noted, the state agency will pay 100 percent of the preliminary engineering and construction costs on the project.

Jarosek said this week that both the city and TxDOT are also working with local CARE (Cultural Arts and Recreation Enhancement) committee members to incorporate some highway beautification measures into the project, like street lights, signage, and green spaces. TxDOT officials have said that once those aesthetic design improvements are chosen, the related costs can be broken out and relayed to the city for consideration.

Given the disruption a construction project of this scope could represent, TxDOT officials hope that next month’s open house will offer affected business and property owners the opportunity to learn more about their plans and to provide some input. The open house will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, May 15, at City Hall.

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