Friday, June 21, 2024

Cresson Relief Route hits roadblock


If you anticipate getting coal in your stocking this year, Christmas came early.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) confirmed Friday that the Cresson Relief Route, also known as the Cresson bypass, will not be completed until late 2023 instead of 2022 as originally planned.

That’s two years from now.

In an email in response to an inquiry from the HCN, TxDOT Public Information Officer Bethany Kurtz stated: “Design modifications are occurring on the Cresson Relief Route project. This includes adding four additional small bridges. While the change order is still being finalized, the project is estimated for completion in 2023.” 

While Kurtz’s email did not specifically state that completion will be at the end of that year, Cresson Mayor Teena Putteet Conway said that David Fowler, an engineer with TxDOT’s Stephenville office, told her that is the case. 

“I got it from the horse’s mouth,” she said, adding that she intentionally sat at Fowler’s table at the event so that she could talk to him about the bypass. 

Dirt broke on the Cresson Relief Route in 2019, years after city and county officials first began working to convince the state that the intersection of US Hwy. 377 and SH 171 needed to be addressed. 

A railroad switching yard is located there, and traffic backups frequently occur. 

Local leaders told state transportation officials that the backups weren’t just inconvenient; they posed safety concerns due to the possibility of emergency vehicles being unable to pass through the intersection.

 Conway said she was recently stopped at that intersection at about 10:45 p.m. and was delayed for 45 minutes because the cross arms were broken. 

Zachary Construction Corporation in San Antonio was awarded the $61 million contract to construct the three-mile stretch of highway, which swings toward the Weatherford side of Cresson one mile on either side of the 377/171 intersection. When finished, it will allow motorists to avoid the problematic switching yard. 

“It’s going to be kind of hard, and so disappointing,” Conway said of the delay, “because I know everybody’s ready to get this thing open.”