By JUDY SHERIDAN
The long-anticipated overnight traffic switchover on FM Road 1187 — a construction milestone — started a couple hours later than anticipated Monday, Oct. 7, but went off without a hitch, according to Aledo City Administrator Ken Pfiefer.
“The switchover actually began at 10 p.m. to allow more time to prepare the new concrete lanes,” Pfeifer said. “They completed it by 2 a.m. Everything went smoothly.”
Orchestrated by TxDOT and contractor McMahon Construction, the switchover
moved two-way traffic from the west side of FM 1187 to the east side, where two new (eventually) northbound lanes have recently been completed.
The switch — which included moving the temporary traffic signals suspended on wires at the road’s main intersections — will allow contractors to build two new southbound lanes on the west side.
Even though extensive drainage work has already been done on the road’s east side, the west side will also require drainage improvements, TxDOT Public Information Officer Val Lopez said.
Lopez wouldn’t call the lane change a halfway point, saying only that the project was on schedule, headed for a late fall/winter completion in 2014.
City officials have named Sept. 1, 2014, as a finish date.
Traffic appeared to be moving normally Tuesday morning, although visibility when emerging from downtown side streets like John Street was obscured by huge mounds of dirt and construction debris.
Contractors were working to level the mounds Wednesday.
Motorists will have limited access to Robert, James, John and Jearl streets during this phase of construction, officials have said, but two of the four streets will always be open from FM 1187.
Driveway access for businesses on the corridor’s west side is expected to be complete within two weeks, according to officials, and will remain available through the construction process.
Bankhead Highway has been closed off from FM 1187, but can be accessed from Bailey Ranch Road, through Champion’s Drive.
For more detailed information on traffic control plans, go to the last two items on the Home Page of the City of Aledo’s website.
Upon completion the rural two-lane asphalt road will be urbanized as a four-lane concrete highway with raised medians, landscaping, curbs, gutters, crosswalks and sidewalks that stretch all the way from Oak Street to the Interstate.
The corridor’s reconstruction was originally a Parker County transportation bond project, and county residents have picked up the tab for its engineering design. Now, however, the road’s $11.7 million construction costs are being footed by state taxpayers, with TxDOT responsible for construction oversight.