Answer Line: Harrison Road widening set to begin in 2019
Dec. 1, 2017 at 11:17 p.m.
QUESTION: When are they going to start construction on Harrison Road? For the past year, they've had survey flags out there. What are they doing exactly? Four or five lanes? Sidewalks? Are they going to pay us for the land they're going to take away? I heard it was going to be from 12½ to 13 feet on both sides. Who pays us for our property when they're taking that away?
ANSWER: There's still some work to do before construction can begin, with two phases planned for the project. The folks at the Texas Department of Transportation told me Phase I is from Fisher Road to Loop 281 and is funded for construction to start in August 2019. TxDOT expects construction funds will be available for Phase 2, from Fisher Road to Texas 42, in May 2020.
Both phases will consist of five lanes, with two travel lanes in each direction and a continuous left-turn lane.
Phase I will have curbs and gutters, and will have a 10-foot shared pathway on the north side of the road for pedestrians and bikers.
Phase 2 will not have curbs and gutters. Instead, it is a rural design with wider shoulders — 20 feet, to be exact. There are no dedicated bike lanes but the shoulders can be used by bicyclists and pedestrians, with TxDOT urging them to use "extreme caution when they are adjacent to traffic on any roadway."
TxDOT also told me it is currently purchasing right of way for the expansion project. That is about 38 percent complete. (While the state of Texas is actually purchasing the right of way, the city of Longview and Gregg County kicked in money for the project.)
The size of the right of way varies on each side of the road, with 42 acres needed in total.
Q: We all, unfortunately, have dust in our house. What is dust? What is it composed of?
A: I found a great NPR story on this topic from 2009 that only grossed me out and scared me a little. The story quotes two dust experts — who I hope never come to my house.
Paloma Beamer is, among other things, an associate professor in the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. She said in the article that there are indoor and outdoor sources of dust and estimated two-thirds of dust is from soil tracked in and outdoor air particles. Then, there also could be fibers of various kinds — from carpet, furniture and human or pet hair, as well as human skin flakes and pet dander, insects and bugs.
Input from Andrea Ferro, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, and Heather M. Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel associate professor of environmental ethics and sustainable environmental management, was a bit more troubling. Ferro said dust will stick around for a while if we don't vacuum — fine, I will if I must — and they both noted that toxins, including the pesticide DDT that was banned many years ago, have also been found in dust.
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