Bridge for Ports to Plains Trans Texas Corridor approved, funded

Link to article here.

Ports to Plains is one of the identified Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) routes, and this Dumas bridge is a vital gateway to making it happen. So don’t believe it when politicians claim the Trans Texas Corridor is dead. How can it be when it barrels ahead all over the state unabated. Unless the Legislature revokes the law and repeals all policies allowing the TTC, it WILL continue.

$17M OK’d for Ports-to-Plains Dumas bridge
By Chris Ramirez
Amarillo Globe-News
DUMAS – A longtime plan to stretch a railroad overpass across U.S. Highway 87 in Dumas has finally been funded.

Ports-to-Plains in West Texas

  • Eagle Pass Relief Route (Loop 480; five projects): $94.46 million
  • San Angelo Relief Route (Loop 306): $20 million
  • Dumas Railway Overpass on U.S. Highway 87: $17.71 million
  • U.S. Highway 349 expansion in Midland County: $7.55 million
  • Total: $139.72 millionOn the Net:The Ports-to-Plains coalition is based in Lubbock.
  • The $17.71 million project was included in a $1.8 billion spending package approved last month by the Texas Transportation Commission for new construction statewide.The project is one of several pitched by backers of the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor, an ambitious concept that seeks to foster commercial trade from Texas to Canada. In all, $140 million will go to Ports-to-Plains projects.

    The overpass will relieve congestion that erupts in downtown Dumas when freight trains block First Street, which leads to the Monsanto agriculture manufacturing plant.

    Word of the funding was welcome news to police and fire officials, who have long warned about trains slowing their response to emergency calls.

    “If we have a 100-car train go through here … we have no access, none,” said Milton Pax, Moore County commissioner of Precinct 3.

    U.S. Highway 87 runs north-south through most of the central Texas Panhandle, but turns into a west-east road at First Street in Dumas. Getting to the Monsanto plant from the city means crossing a set of street-level railroad tracks about 1 mile from downtown.

    Dumas fire Chief Paul J. Jenkins warned of the dangers of the increase in train traffic and road blockage on First Street and at Farm-To-Market Road 722, another crossing, in an Aug. 20 letter. Going around could delay response, he wrote.

    Fire officials respond to 40-60 calls each year for service west of the city, records show.

    “When a train comes through here, we’re completely cut off from the western side of the county,” said Jeff Turner, chief executive of the Moore County Hospital District. “We could literally could have someone 25 feet away and couldn’t do anything about it until it passes.”

    Also submitting letters were Monsanto, the Dumas Police Department and the local school district.

    Funding for the projects will come from bonds under Proposition 14, which voters supported in 2003.

    The debt will support development and construction projects through 2011, said Michael Reeves, president of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor coalition.

    The county may start taking bids on the project in December 2010, Pax said.

    © The Amarillo Globe-News Online