TxDOT will hold meeting in Abilene about new frontage road conversion project Thursday

POSTED: 9:06 PM Jan 23 2013   UPDATED: 8:28 AM Jan 24 2013
ABILENE, Texas -

More two-way frontage roads in Abilene will be converted to one-way operations.

The Texas Department of Transportation and The Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold a meeting Thursday about the latest project.

Converting the two-way frontage roads around Abilene has been a goal for several years now.

"This will just bring consistency to the frontage road system and it's also more in line with what a lot of drivers expect to see in a city of this size," TxDOT spokeswoman Darah Waldrip said.

Waldrip said the two-way roads can be dangerous. One-way frontage roads are intended to reduce conflict points for traffic entering and exiting the freeway. It should also provide smoother traffic flow, for a city that is "increasing rapidly," Waldrip said.

"I think most people in town could tell you a story about a close call they've had at one of these two-way frontage road exits," she said.

The new project will change frontage roads along U.S. 83/84 from Canyon Rock Road to FM 707 from two way to one way.

It will also convert the roads at Loop 322 from Maple Street to State Highway 36. Current funding will likely only allow for a portion of that stretch to be built at this point, from Maple to FM 1750/Potosi Road.

Waldrip said people often miss the yield signs or are not aware the roads are two-way.

"Hopefully when all of this is finished, we'll have a much safer frontage road system," said Waldrip.

The project is expected to take about 18 months, and should begin in late 2013.

The estimated cost for the project is between $8 and $12 million. $8 million is available immediately.

The meeting Thursday will be open to the public.

Representatives from both TxDOT and the Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization will talk about the safety benefits of the project and how drivers can prepare for the construction.

It will be held tomorrow night at the Abilene Regional Medical Center in the Women's Center Conference Room.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6.

Another more formal public hearing will be held March 5, 2013. Comments from that meeting will be entered into official record.