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Construction to ease traffic could interfere with Clint land

By: Stacey Welsh
CLINT, Texas -- Future highway construction could cut into borderland farms. While some Clint landowners are concerned, the Texas Department of Transportation expects two new projects to ease the drive in and out of town.

The first project in the works is expanding the FM1110 bridge, which connects Clint to Interstate 10, from one lane in each direction to three lanes in each direction.

"Border Patrol set up a station in Clint, a big station, so we have a lot of traffic going into Clint. The new Clint High School has also been built down there," El Paso County Public Works Director Ernesto Carrizal said.

TXDOT also said the bridge expansion could help ease congestion from trucks passing through that exit.

But once the bridge project is finished, TXDOT could focus on connecting I-10 to the future Border Highway East near Clint.

"The Border Higway East study is looking at various routes from Zaragoza Road out to the new border crossing at Tornillo," El Paso District Engineer Bob Bielek said.

Bielek said connecting the border highway to I-10 could give people in Clint an express route to downtown El Paso.

"You'd have to wind down through Clint in order to get to Alameda Avenue. So, there's no direct connection between the location where border highway east is going to go and FM1110," Bielek said.

TXDOT plans to do a study on the area because it's possible the construction could interfere with Clint farms.

"Part of the process is to take a look at different alignments. [We want to] find alignments that have the least effect on people but serve the need of the project," Bielek said.

Chris Gonzalez said he grew up in Clint, and he knows some are already concerned.

"It's their land. People have been here forever. I know people that have been here 20-plus years," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said his father owns land in Clint and is concerned about the possible construction.

"That's a concern for all the people that obviously have been here their whole lives. I don't know how they're going to feel about it," Gonzalez said.

TXDOT will hold public meetings to get feedback before construction starts. Bielek said it could be a few years before the Border Highway East study is finished, because TXDOT plans to finish construction on the FM1110 bridge first.

Upcoming public meetings on the border highway project are Tuesday at Clint High School from 4-7 p.m. and Wednesday at the Rio Vista Community Center in Socorro from 4-7 p.m.

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