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TXDOT to expand Loop 375 in far east El Paso

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- A project to expand Loop 375 in far east El Paso could give drivers a break from traffi congestion. The Texas Department of Transportation plans to add a lane to Loop 375 from Montana Avenue to Bob Hope Drive. This would make Loop 375 three lanes in each direction in that area, instead of two.

"Since it's two lanes, it gets pretty bad. Adding another lane wouldn't be so bad. It would probably give more people more time to get where they're going," east El Paso resident Enrique Carrillo said.

TXDOT said the project could cost about $12 million. Construction could also start as early as the end of this year, after the budget for fiscal year 2015 is approved.

"Loop 375 is getting enough traffic where it's starting to slow, so this is good time to start adding that capacity," Bob Bielek said. Bielek is the El Paso district engineer for TXDOT.

Bielek said drivers could expect construction to narrow the existing two lanes, but TXDOT is not planning any detours at this time. TXDOT could adjust the speed limit to 55mph in the work zone.

He also said TXDOT is currently conducting an environmental study for the project, to determine whether noise from traffic could be an issue with the expansion.

Bielek said if TXDOT receives enough feedback from people in the area who feel traffic noise would be a problem, it could add sound walls around the loop. The walls could be 15 to 18 feet high, similar to the ones near the Cesar Chavez Border Highway.

"It does get traffic jams constantly. Even though the construction is getting kind of annoying, at the end I know it will be worth it. It will make everything run smoother and just easier," east El Paso resident Oscar Galicia said.

TXDOT will hold a public meeting to get feedback on this project from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The meeting will take place at TXDOT's east El Paso office at 1430 Joe Battle Blvd.

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