By JUDY SHERIDAN
A progress report on the Eastern Loop around Weatherford and the loop’s future interchange with Interstate 20 near Center Point Road was a highlight of Parker County commissioners’ court Monday.
Chris Bosco, of Freese and Nichols, told commissioners the engineering firm expects to submit a schematic design, traffic study and environmental assessment on the interchange to TxDOT next month, schedule a public meeting on the project this summer and let it out for bids in 2015.
An ongoing study to determine the path of the loop, funded through a cost savings from the 2008 Transportation Bond projects, should be completed this year, Bosco said. The loop will link Interstate 20 to FM Road 51.
Parker County has been working closely with TxDOT, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the cities of Weatherford and Hudson Oaks as it moves forward, resulting in a joint study that will improve efficiency and scheduling and ease future construction, according to Bosco.
“Hudson Oaks was planning a frontage road between Center Point Road and Lakeshore, and we’re trying to do the Center Point interchange,” he said. ”Essentially from a study standpoint we’re overlapping each other, so the real benefits are it’s more efficient to combine them.
“The other is scheduling. You’re not having two review processes through TxDOT; you have one environmental review. Both entities aren’t having to compete. And we can phase the project when we go out to construction.”
A key milestone in moving ahead has been getting the project funded, Bosco said.
“We knew we had $7 million that was really savings because we got the pass-through funding on the I-20 interchange,” he said, “but as we started to define the scope we realized $7 million wasn’t going to quite get the project built.
“The judge had a number of meetings with NCTCOG discussing additional funding, and in October the Regional Transportation Council provided another $3 million, so now we have a total of $10 million to do the interchange at Center Point.”