Construction on U.S. 59 in Goodrich to begin soon
Polk County Enterprise, July 2007
LIVINGSTON — Highway construction on U.S. 59 and FM 1988 could begin affecting traffic flow in a little over three months when crews begin efforts to widen U.S. 59 in the Goodrich area, according to a contractor for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Billy Mitchell, a project engineer for Texas Sterling Construction of Houston who was awarded the TxDOT contract, said work crews began clearing land June 4 to prepare the right-of-way in the area.
The project calls for a new overpass over U.S. 59, realigning FM 2665 and closing crossovers at Loop 393, officials at the Texas Department of Transportation said.
The construction project will improve safety for motorists traveling on U.S. 59 and FM 1988, officials said.
“That is a hazardous intersection,” said Sgt. Nita Bowen of the Texas Department of Public Safety. “Crashes in that area are often the result of driver error. Upon completion, I believe there will be a reduction in crashes.”
Project officials estimate construction to take 29 months, putting the completion in Fall 2009.
When the project is complete, motorists traveling east and west on FM 1988 will use an overpass to cross U.S. 59.
FM 2665 will be re-routed to connect with FM 1988 east of U.S. 59, according to Kathi White, a spokeswoman for TxDOT’s Lufkin District Office.
Traffic flow on Loop 393 near Goodrich will also change. The crossovers between the north and south ends will be eliminated, White said.
When the right-of-way is prepared, utility companies have 90 days to move pipelines or other equipment affected by the project, Mitchell said.
"But the weather's got to cooperate more," Mitchell added.
Texas Sterling has about a dozen workers currently assigned to the project with about half of them from the Polk County area, Mitchell said. During the peak phases of the project, they expect to have about 25 workers at the site.
While crews are widening U.S. 59, traffic will be reduced to one lane. That phase will have the biggest impact on traffic flow during the two-year project, Mitchell said.
Early on, crews will close the crossover on 1988.
Eastbound traffic will access FM 1988 through the ramp that will ultimately access the bridge, Mitchell said. Diverting that traffic will allow crews to place the columns and other work to prepare for the bridge.
Once that happens, local traffic will enter and exit FM 1988 on the west side and will be diverted back onto the loop, Mitchell said. Access to the post office will remain.