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Construction nears on five Longview intersections

By Richard Yeakley
July 5, 2013 at 11 p.m.


Longview City Council members will consider a $2 million construction contract to improve five intersections when they meet Thursday.

The project temporarily will choke traffic at one of Longview's busiest east-to-west corridors, with the long-term goal to relieve pressure at congested intersections.

The contract would pay $2.089 million to Longview-based East Texas Bridge to improve traffic capacity at four Hawkins Parkway intersections and the intersection of Cotton Street and Eastman Road.

"The improvements will be done to help prevent the bottlenecking of traffic at the intersections," said Assistant Director of Public Works Rollin McPhee.

The improvement of the five intersections - Hawkins Parkway with Judson Road, Hawkins Parwkay with Gilmer and Dundee roads, Hawkins Parkway with Eastman Road, Hawkins Parkway with McCann Road, and Cotton Road with Eastman Road - was approved as a part of a $52.6 million street bond in 2011, and the contract calls for 18 months of work.

If the contract is approved, the intersections of Hawkins Parkway with Judson and McCann roads will be completed simultaneously, and the intersections of Hawkins Parkway with Eastman, Gilmer and Dundee roads also will be completed together. The city has not said which set of intersections would be under construction first.

The intersection at Cotton and Eastman roads will be completed with either set of Hawkins Parkway intersection constructions.

Hawkins Parkway is one of the busiest east-to-west corridors in Longview.

The Hawkins intersection with Gilmer and Dundee roads averages 26,000 vehicles per day; Hawkins Parkway with McCann and Judson roads averages 14,800 and 25,000 vehicle, respectively.

The booming northeast intersection of Hawkins Parkway and Eastman Road averages 21,000 vehicles on North Eastman Road in front of Longview Towne Center each 24-hour period and another 14,000 vehicles on Hawkins Parkway, according to information from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Oscar Contreras, a shift leader at Smashburger in the Longview Towne Center, said he has noticed the congestion and is glad something is being done about it.

"The problem that we have is the light going out of Hawkins ... changes in about four seconds. It gets really congested around lunch time," Contreras said. "That would be very helpful to us."

If approved, work on the 18-month project is likely to begin within 45 to 60 days.

McPhee described the work planned for each intersection:

Hawkins Parkway and McCann Road: Crews will widen the intersection to allow a fixed left turn lane on east and westbound Hawkins Parkway for access to McCann Road.

Hawkins Parkway and Judson Road: Crews will widen the intersection to allow a fixed left turn lane on east and westbound Hawkins Parkway for access to Judson Road.

Hawkins Parkway and Gilmer, Dundee roads: The city will widen the intersection to allow two fixed left turn lanes from Dundee Road to Gilmer Road and two through lanes from Dundee Road to Hawkins Parkway.

Hawkins Parkway and Eastman Road: The city will widen the intersection to allow two fixed left turn lanes from Hawkins Parkway onto northbound Eastman Road, two through lanes across Eastman Road and two westbound lanes on Hawkins Parkway for traffic entering the thoroughfare from Eastman Road.

Cotton Street and Eastman Road: The city will widen the intersection and convert the one westbound lane on Cotton Street, east of Eastman, into a fixed left turn lane from Cotton Street to southbound Eastman Road and through lane to Cotton Street west of Eastman Road.

Other projects

Construction work continued Friday on two other road projects - Hollybrook Drive and Green Street.

McPhee said work was on schedule on the Hollybrook Drive expansion, which will widen the road, east of Eastman road from two to four lanes.

Renovation on Green Street, just south of downtown, is nearing completion, McPhee said.

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