Cuts Won't Affect Briarcrest Project; Bryan Council Could

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Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of discussion at Tuesday night's Bryan City Council meeting regarding Briarcrest Drive. TxDOT is offering up $4 million to help alleviate traffic woes on the busy street, but with recent cutbacks at TxDOT, is the project still a possibility?

With news that the Federal Highway Administration is asking for $290 million back from the Texas Department of Transportation, local projects in the pipeline could be in jeopardy. Those determinations have yet to be made, but Briarcrest looks to be safe.

"We don't foresee that any of the cuts that are necessary, that the federal government has told us they're going to take away from TxDOT, should have any impact on this project," said Bob Colwell, a TxDOT representative.

Colwell adds that even though the project is not underway yet, the Briarcrest project is of a high enough priority that it likely won't be put on the chopping block.

That makes Tuesday's decision for the Bryan City Council that much bigger, as they have the option to pass or proceed with the deal that would see fixed medians and additional turn lanes added.

An estimated 42,000 vehicles hit that road each day, and Bryan Police say three intersections along that stretch are among the worst for accidents.

"I believe the mayor and the council have listened to the public, have listened to the business owners, have worked with city staff, and have worked with TxDOT to try and come up with the best compromise possible," said Jason Bienski, a Bryan city councilmember.

That bargaining on project particulars came as some business owners and residents remarked about limited left turns that they believe could affect their bottom lines. Though concessions have been made in certain parts of the project, some are still expected to speak out against it.

"We just want to hear what the city wants to do, and we want to do what the citizens want to do," Colwell said. "We want everyone to be happy and be in a partnership with everyone."

If the council does not vote to accept the TxDOT project for Briarcrest, those $4 million will go towards other projects in the 10-county Bryan District.