The Texas 174 median and overlay project in Burleson is on schedule, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, with contractor Austin Bridge and Road conducting traffic signal work the next several weeks.
Some lanes will be closed at night, beginning in late April, so workers can seal coat the road surface, according to a statement released this week by the city of Burleson.
In Burleson, Texas 174 is also known as Wilshire Boulevard.
Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said Friday that improvements to the highway are “a very big deal for Burleson.”
“We have a corridor plan in place for 174, and the median and signal work they are doing right now is critical to our goals,” Shetter said. “Right now, 174 is a disaster from the standpoint of safety and [ease of travel]. When this work is finished, it will be a major improvement.”
Shetter acknowledged that the construction work has created concerns for some businesses along Texas 174 in Burleson, but said the city is working to mitigate any problems.
“Look at some of the other areas where they’ve done this kind of project — on Cooper Street in Arlington and in Bryan/College Station. [TxDOT] did a lot of in-depth economic studies with those projects, and those studies have shown that the businesses in those areas were not hurt by the road work,” Shetter said. “Yes, it can be inconvenient while the work is under way, but when it is all complete, it will be so much better for everyone.”
Shetter said the city has initiated a rewards program to help keep shoppers in the businesses along the highway during the construction and is doing “everything we can to encourage our residents to support those businesses.”
He said that problems with transportation, mobility and congestion topped the short list of complaints Burleson residents registered in a city-wide survey completed last fall.
“Despite the inconvenience now, in the long term this is going to be very, very good for our city,” Shetter said. “And the fact that TxDOT stepped up and is willing to help out with these improvements is a huge deal. This is not something [the city of Burleson] could afford to do on our own.”
Sections of the roadway in Burleson have been milled, where workers use a machine to grind away the old surface, leaving behind the road base. Milling helps remove deteriorated asphalt in preparation for applying a new seal coat and the final overlay. Milling also helps reveal more of the curb line, which aids in drainage when the road repairs are complete, and it helps create a more level and uniform surface, resulting in a smoother ride, according to information found on the Pittsburgh Public Works website.
The milled road surface can create a significantly different “feeling” for those driving on it, and can cause concern. But Natalie Galindo with TxDOT’s regional office in Fort Worth said the milled surface is not dangerous to vehicles or drivers.
“There will be a different ‘feel’ when you are driving on a milled road, and it will cause more road noise. But it shouldn’t cause any damage to tires or vehicles,” Galindo said.
Galindo said Texas 174 in Burleson is a construction zone, and drivers need to remember to slow down and be alert for workers and work vehicles.
“We always want everyone to be safe. That is TxDOT’s No. 1 priority,” Galindo said.”Slow down in the construction zones. That’s what we ask of drivers.”
In Texas, fines for moving vehicle violations are doubled for violations committed in a construction zone marked by signs and with workers present.
TxDOT officials said Austin Road and Bridge workers placed asphalt material in place to create smoother transitions from Texas 174 to adjoining city streets. The seal coat process expected to take place at the end of this month will also help with the transition and maintenance of the roadway until the overlay is in place, officials said.
The final overlay is expected to be completed in October, with work done during the overnight hours to mitigate as much as possible any disruption to the traffic flow.
TxDOT’s median improvement project on Texas 174 in Burleson began in February and the project is expected to be complete by April 2014. Improvements include replacement of the center turn lane with a raised curb center median with turn lanes, an overlay of the existing pavement and landscaping.
The contractor doesn’t expect the actual median work to begin until May. When work on the median begins the inside lane in each direction will be closed. Landscaping and the irrigation are on schedule to be finished by September or October, officials said.
The median construction will create a 4-inch raised concrete median in place of the current center turn lane. All existing signal-controlled intersections will remain, with the exception of Lorna Street, where the signal will be removed and a median will prevent left turns. But Lorna Street will be maintained up to Texas 174, allowing right turns.
A new signal-controlled intersection will be created about midway between Hidden Creek Parkway and Elk Drive to serve the Burleson ISD administration building and the Durham Transportation bus barn on the north side of the roadway, as well as retail traffic on the south side. All other median openings will be a hooded left, which will allow left turns in but not left turns out.
Those locations include between Newton Street and Exchange Street (Antonio’s restaurant on the north and China King restaurant on the south), between Exchange Street and Gardens Boulevard (Hobby Lobby to the north and just west of FasTaco to the south), and into the west end of the Walmart parking lot, between the intersection with Hidden Creek Parkway and the new intersection between Hidden Creek Parkway and Elk Drive.
The center median on Texas 174 was removed in 1986. The center median stops at Elk Drive, but the project overlay continues to FM 731/John Jones Drive.
In August 2011, the Burleson City Council approved a resolution to support the Texas Department of Transportation project to construct the center median. In September 2011, TxDOT hosted a public meeting to garner input from citizens and business owners affected by the median project.
The $4 million project, which is considered a safety enhancement due to the high traffic volume and multiple unprotected left turn movements, is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and TxDOT, who will pay about 93 percent of the cost.
The city of Burleson will be responsible for about 7 percent of the project, which includes $150,000 for new signal construction, $50,000 for landscape design, $50,000 for landscape and irrigation and $40,000 for offsite improvements — for a total of $290,000.
The city received $450,000 from TxDOT’s Green Ribbon Program to help fund landscape and irrigation improvements.
City of Burleson Public
Information Officer Sally
Ellertson contributed to