FM 1179 Debate Continues

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

It was a less than enthusiastic response to changes the state wants to make to a major Bryan roadway. In fact the audience gathered at Tuesday's public hearing on changes to Briarcrest and Villa Maria were almost unified in their opposition.

Over 50 residents showed up at a meeting to ask questions about TXDOT's safety improvement plans for FM 1179 and they weren't too happy with the answers.

Proposed plans include adding raised medians and turning lanes to sections of Briarcrest and Villa Maria.

" Certainly we're going to have some huge safety benefits as a result of this project. We anticipate that we could have a 50% reduction in accidents that occur in this area," said Bryan Wood with TXDOT.

But the city and some residents believe it would make it difficult to get in and out of businesses and neighborhoods along the streets and that it is not a long term solution to traffic flow problems.

" I'm very concerned about the fate of my business, Villa Maria Cleaners. We're a convenience based business and I'm concerned that it's going to limit the access in and out of our building," said Michelle Winder, owner of Villa Maria Cleaners.

The busy intersection on Briarcrest and 29Th street is a growing traffic concern because of school traffic at Bryan High School and rush hour at 5. But many residents and businesses owners don't think turning lanes or medians will fix the problem.

" I think it's going to hurt businesses more than it's going to help traffic flow," said Winder.

Instead residents were hoping Briarcrest could be widened to 6 lanes from the Highway 6 bypass to 29Th street. But Brian Wood with TXDOT says that would require lots of land acquisitions, which many residents have opposed in the past and would cost about $10 million per mile.

" What the city is really hoping for is an opportunity to establish a dialog with TXDOT and work to come up with a solution that everyone can agree on," said John Dean, Transportation Planner with the city if Bryan.

But judging from Tuesday's dialog, that could be much further down the road. If you want to submit an comment on the issue you can pick up a card at the city of Bryan's municipal building.

If you want to submit an comment on the issue you can pick up a card at the city of Bryan's municipal building.


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