May 22, 2011
KWES NewsWest 9
ANDREWS – More and more truck traffic coming to Andrews has sparked the now controversial proposed truck reliever route debate there.
The project planning was started back in 2007 and is now poised to take off this year if the funding comes through.
The 13-mile route circling the city will have two lanes going opposite directions for large trucks to travel with a narrow turn lane in the middle.
It’s meant to keep them off of the main city streets.
"We’ve had a 60-80% increase in truck traffic in Andrews in the last five years," Andrews City Manager, Glen Hackler, said. "That means about 1,000-1,200 trucks a day on Main St."
Andrews officials said that can be a safety hazard to other cars just making their errands around town.
The project will cost $6 million and the city will have an election in May to raise the sales tax by a quarter to help pay it off.
If it’s approved, the city will issue $6 million dollars in bonds for a period not exceeding 20 years in the Fall and construction on the route will begin in January 2012.
But there’s a stretch of homes on the North side of town on County Road 2500, about a quarter-of-a-mile long, where the route is cutting too close.
One Andrews family in that area has the route coming within 14 feet of their front lawn and said it’s too unsafe for them.
"You’re gonna have those trucks passing by every day within 40 feet of my son’s room where he’s gonna be asleep," 15-year Andrews resident, Justin Johnson, said.
For the Johnson’s, they don’t want their children to be in danger just by playing out in the front yard but Andrews officials said there will be measures in place on that stretch to protect those homes.
"Putting curb and gutter that would help slow and calm the traffic in that area, a masonry decorative fence with some sound baffling, reducing the speed limit to 35 along that quarter-of-a-mile section," Hackler said.
The Johnson’s said they’ve yet to hear from a city official. They fear there won’t be a safe alternative, and if the sales tax is approved and the route built, they might have to move.
But officials said there wasn’t a better place to put the new route and now the wait is on to see if the funding will be voted in.
"There’s no perfect route," Hackler said. "What we’ve done is three or four years of study, evaluation and work and brought it to this point. Now it’s up to the voters to decide."
"Take a minute to put themselves in my shoes," Johnson said. "And how would they like 600-800 trucks a day passing within 40 feet of their home where their children play out in their yard."
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