POSTED: Monday, September 20, 2010 - 4:01pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 8:49am
EL PASO- The project to complete the loop around El Paso now centers on Transmountain Road.
A three and a half mile stretch from Franklin Mountains State Park to I-10 has to be widened. Just how wide is a matter of debate.
Transmountain Road was crowded this morning, like always. Two groups have proposed two very different ways to accommodate all those cars.
The first, from TXDOT, calls for a freeway just shy of 400 feet wide, with four overpasses to keep traffic flowing smoothly.
"It'll be two lanes in each direction with additional right of way in the middle for lanes in the future," says City Rep. Susie Byrd.
Proponents say it's the best way to move traffic and promote development in surrounding areas. Susie Byrd says a project that size isn't necessary, and too expensive.
"From a cost perspective, we should be asking ourselves, is that worth the cost and could we use those dollars for something else."
Her idea is smaller. Just expand the road to four lanes, about 100 feet across. Add traffic lights instead of overpasses and keep development to a minimum.
Critics say it won't work. Traffic will build up at red lights and then, there's safety.
"They plan on a hike and bike lane, and if there isn't enough right of way for the buffer, then it would be dangerous to have the hike-bike lane," says Open Space Advisory Board Chairman Charlie Wakeem.
The issue won't be decided for at least a month. In the meantime, the city will set up public hearings.
Simply put, here are your options. Build a freeway, lose some scenery. Keep it simple and cheap, lose time on your commute.
We'll let you know when the hearings are scheduled so you can weigh in.