Construction is progressing around the “Traffic T” intersection, and motorists can begin to envision how engineers have redesigned this busy crossroads.
“The roadway construction project seems to change almost daily, but the changes made Monday afternoon will give motorists a better concept of what the finished product will be,” Sandra Parker, public information officer for the Brownwood District of the Texas Department of Transportation, said.
Effective this week, motorists traveling north on U.S. Highway 377 wishing to turn right, or east, onto U.S. 67 (Commerce Street) must go to the signal at the intersection to do so. The sweeping right lane that bypasses the signal will continue to allow access to businesses such as KFC and Pro-Cuts, but the exit will no longer allow motorists to merge back into traffic on U.S. 67-377 as it has in the past. The exit point will instead be at Riverside between Taco Bueno and Subway, Parker said.
On the southwest corner of the intersection, the arc allowing eastbound traffic on U.S. 67 to bypass the intersection and merge with U.S. 377 south (Main Street) has been closed to traffic. Motorists must go to the intersection to access U.S. 377 south.
When construction is complete, the intersection will have dedicated right turn lanes in addition to the main lanes, at the signals.
Engineers have been able to carve space for an additional lane on Clements Street, between CVS and Blockbuster, Parker said. Initial designs did not include that lane, but the department has determined adequate right-of-way exists to create it. That will allow three lanes entering the intersection on Clements: one will be dedicated to left turns only, one will be dedicated for straight-through traffic only, and the third will allow both right turns and straight traffic. A fourth lane will be for northbound traffic entering Clements from the intersection.
Elevated barriers will be placed between traffic east and west of the intersection to prevent dangerous left-turns across opposing lanes, a step designed to improve safety, Parker said.
Parker said the project will improve safety and should enhance the efficiency of the intersection. But inevitable delays are being experienced during the construction work as the number of lanes open through the intersection has been reduced.
“Delays are to be expected, but we’ve not having all that many complaints,” Parker said. “I guess people understand what’s happening. We’ve had work ongoing in Brownwood and Early for several months.”
Prater Equipment of Comanche is the contractor on the $4.2 million project. Work is expected to be completed before the end of the year.