2.5-mile stretch of Texas 87 ready for major overhaul. See the details.

Published 12:20 am Saturday, January 23, 2021

A busy section of roadway in Port Arthur is set for a major preventative maintenance project.

The approximate 2.5-mile area from Woodworth Boulevard and Gulfway Drive to Texas 87 and Terminal Road will be milled down to expose the concrete pavement, intersection by intersection, Kenneth Wiemers, Beaumont engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation, said during a recent Port Arthur City Council meeting.

With the roadway exposed, this will allow for repair of any broken slabs and time to clean and seal the joints. PTSS Investments is the contractor for the project.

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The roadway then will be restriped with a temporary traffic pattern, Wiemers said.

“When it’s in that temporary configuration, we’re going to have to be adjusting some of the red lights to make sure traffic is flowing how we expect it to flow and then we’re going to come back with a good level of hot mix on top of it,” he said.

The cost of the project is $3 million for the 180 working days scheduled to complete. But, he noted, the 180 days are not calendar days and do not take into account weather days, weekends or days below 50 degrees, where the concrete work cannot be done.

The project will likely take a year.

Wiemers said motorists will see changes as they approach a red light. Normally there are two lanes coming towards you, two lanes going away from you and a left turn lane.

“And that left turn lane is narrow,” he said. “I know from sitting in my Ford pickup truck, my mirrors hang over the sides of those stripes, and it makes me a little nervous from somebody that might be passing. We’re trying to improve safety of this roadway by changing the striping configuration.”

So, instead of the narrow 8-feet left turn lanes, there will be a 12-feet wide continuous turning lane, then two 11-feet wide lanes and some shoulders as a way to increase safety.

This, he added, helps with the freight traffic as it goes to the Port of Port Arthur and, hopefully, cuts down on vehicles hitting and breaking curbs.

The shoulders would also give a bit of extra buffer to the travel lanes and sidewalks and help prevent some of the vehicular and pedestrian fatalities that have occurred on this roadway in the past few years.

“And also by having that continuous 12-feet wide turning lane all the way down the road, you have a safe refuge to be able to sit and wait for oncoming traffic to pull in or out of residences and buildings along the road,” Wiemers said.

The temporary traffic configuration is a bit of a trial run.

If it proves to be efficient, then after the road is fixed and the hot mix applied, this would become the new configuration.

Once completed, the road will be good to go for six to eight years before more maintenance is needed.

Wiemers said there would also be work done at the gutters to make for smoother travel going into residences or businesses with an added benefit to hydraulics.

Wiemers said the project is set to begin soon.