Monday morning, the El Paso County Commissioners Court voted 4-0 to approve Commissioner David Stout’s proposal to hire a third-party consultant to review the widening and frontage road proposal for I-10 through Central and Downtown El Paso.
“This is a real win for the public,” El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, shared. “The proposal to widen the highway is based on questionable data, such as outdated population growth estimates. Having a third party with relevant expertise review this data will help us get a better picture as to the actual need for this project.”
According to officials, the project would be one of the largest ever in El Paso, stretching almost six miles from Copia Street to Executive Boulevard, costing an estimated $750 million and lasting several years, during which the highway would be completely shut down at times.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) would partially fund project, while asking the El Paso region to find millions, or potentially 10s or 100s of millions, to make up the difference.
Via a news release, Commissioner Stout stated that cities across the country are removing highways that cut through the heart of their communities when possible, and limiting expansion where it is not.
“In El Paso, there is an opportunity to route through traffic around the City, instead of through the City, via the Northeast Expressway. This would give through traffic, including freight trucks, a route through the Anthony Gap, reducing the burden on the heart of the El Paso community,” Stout said.
“Urban freeways hurt neighborhood property values, creating air pollution, noise, vibrations, and heat island effect. They alter flood patterns, and they are unsightly. Sadly, they were placed, often intentionally, through low-income and minority communities,” Commissioner Stout added. “With this vote, the County is taking a lead to not only review the actual need for an expansion, but also look at alternatives so that we can get any necessary work done efficiently.
“We must look at any projects with an eye toward improving the conditions in those communities, not imposing more highway.”