By Lisa Morton
Last Tuesday afternoon, local and District Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representatives were in Van Horn for a 2023-2026 Rural Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP) Open House. Culberson County is one of six counties in the TxDOT El Paso District, including El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Brewster counties. TxDOT Engineer Chris Weber from Alpine addressed Culberson and Hudspeth County residents and public officials with a short agenda highlighting major projects with the RTIP anticipated being funded within the next four years.
Audience participation during the meeting mainly addressed the impact of local and small projects around the community dealing with safety and access that also get funding through the RTIP such as, roadway improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, pavement repair and maintenance, improved signals and turning lanes. Van Horn Mayor Becky Brewster provided several project ideas focusing on improvements to Business Loop 10 or Broadway Street in Van Horn. EDC Coordinator Krissy Lerdel echoed much of the Mayor’s “wish list” and safety concerns with improperly working traffic lights, crosswalk improvement, road lane lines and poor lighting near Love’s truck stop, pedestrian traffic at I-10 underpasses, and road conditions from 18 wheelers.
Weber said local TxDOT workers can take a look at roadway access problems the city has identified for possible solutions. Weber also reminded the group that although two new roadside parks were being built just east of Van Horn, the two parks they are replacing will continue to function as overflow parking for 18 wheelers that plague the town’s streets in the evening.
One Culberson County project update to create a new roadway to support the energy sector north from Van Horn was removed from the 2021-2024 RTIP prior to its approval and adoption due to a 2020 statewide fiscal constraint. The 29-mile, two-lane highway extension scheduled in 2026, would connect Van Horn to Orla and RM 652 via 3541 at a cost of $100,000,000.
The TxDOT team encouraged everyone to feel free to share any safety concerns and submit their voiced comments in written form. The public is also invited to fill out a comment card available at TxDOT.gov or by mail to:
Texas Department of Transportation
El Paso District, Attn: Rural TIP
13301 Gateway Blvd. West
El Paso, TX 79928
Or you can email comments to [email protected], Attention: Rural TIP.
Submit your comments by April 15, 2022 to be included in the official summary.