Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Liberty Expressway to be Widened

Spur 601 to Get More Lanes, Frontage Roads

Yet another East El Paso freeway will see major construction in the coming years. That’s according to a Public Meeting Notice released by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

Spur 601, also known as Liberty Expressway, will get an additional lane in each direction as a result of the project which stretches from Airport Road to Loop 375 in East Fort Bliss. This will increase the number of lanes to three in each direction. The Spur already has three lanes in each direction west of the planned project.

Frontage roads will also be added along the five-mile stretch, though it’s unclear if the gateways will span the entire distance. 

The project’s meeting comes on the heels of other similar projects in East El Paso and Fort Bliss publicized earlier this month. Frontage roads will also be added to Loop 375 from the Spur 601 interchange southward to Montana Avenue.

And Montana Avenue will also get frontage roads once main lanes have been constructed for the thoroughfare. TXDOT and local officials have expressed interest in the past in making parts of Montana (US-62) a controlled-access freeway, confirmed by that project’s Public Meeting Notice. 

The inclusion of frontage roads in these projects could signal a desire to make land adjacent to the highways more viable for commercial uses. Frontage roads, or gateways, dominate in El Paso as a form of freeway design. Interstate-10, US-54, and Loop 375 on the Far East and Northeast side of the city are all lined with mostly-continuous gateways. 

Loop 375 main lanes under construction in West El Paso will have gateways. Spur 601 (currently) and the Border Highway stray from the norm by not having frontage roads. And the future elevated Border Highway West tollway will lack gateways, though it will closely follow Paisano Drive’s route.

The community meeting for the Spur 601 project will be held Thursday, November 21, 2013 at the Chapin High School cafeteria from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.