September 27, 2018 500 AM
PRESIDIO – “We are capturing every comment,” said Alpine engineer at Texas Department of Transportation, Chris Weber to the crowd gathered at the fourth US 67 Corridor Working Group (CWG) meeting. City officials, Customs and Border Patrol, and representatives from the McDonald Observatory met on Thursday, September 20th to discuss areas of concern regarding the 142-mile stretch of road between Presidio and I-10.
The study will consider the needs of all corridor users including automobile traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians, freight, transit service, law enforcement and first responders using their input as the basis.
The CWG meeting was held at the Presidio Activity Center and lasted two hours. The first hour consisted of a presentation where TxDOT discussed the data they have collected since beginning the project. As a result of surveys that were conducted at the public meeting, TxDOT has been able to hone in on the areas that the public feels needs to be addressed. The second half of the meeting was spent in groups according to city or county. Within the groups, they were to focus on one stretch of US 67 to determine five areas that should be focused on.
The project to study US 67 began in the fall of 2017 and will last two years, in that time TxDOT working in conjunction with CDM Smith – an engineering firm, will study the issues presented at the public meetings held in Alpine, Presidio, Marfa and Fort Stockton as well as the issues presented at the corridor working group meetings.
The first public meeting was held the week of May 14 in Alpine, Fort Stockton, Marfa and Presidio. Participants were able to ask questions and provide input on maps and displays as well as via online tools.
According to Weber, the issues that are most important to those who have attended the public meetings are safety, emergency response, sustainability, state of good repair, and economic development.
“Our primary focus is on safety concerns, we are above the rural Texas average for accidents, and that is not a number we want to compete with the state,” said Weber. “We are looking at short, medium and long term plans.”
Weber explains that as a result of this study, an idea was presented to erect a sign indicating an approaching passing lane to deter impatient drivers from passing while in a single lane, the sign can be seen between Marfa and Alpine.
“Tourism is a huge driver of our economy, “ said Weber, and in an effort to accommodate sightseeing, sections of the road have been widened to allow drivers to pull-off while not putting themselves in danger.
The next public meetings will be held in Marfa on November 7th , Presidio, November 8th , Fort Davis, November 14th , and Alpine, November 15th . Each meeting will last two hours and starts at 5 pm. If you’d like to learn more about the study, feel free to contact project manager, Rebecca Reyes: [email protected], 915-790-4200.