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Texas Transportation Commission denies funding for Bush - Wellborn Road interchange project

A major transportation project is being planned for College Station.
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A top priority project in College Station is being delayed. The Texas Transportation Commission has turned down a local funding request for the George Bush Drive and Wellborn Road intersection. We’ve been telling you about the plans to create an over and underpass there for years.

Plans include a new interchange that will separate traffic from the nearby train tracks. There will also be new turning lanes and a bridge that will allow vehicles traveling through on Wellborn road to bypass traffic signals.

“This year the TxDOT Bryan District made the Bush - Wellborn interchange its number one priority project but that was not enough to secure funding,” explained Dan Rudge, The Bryan / College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director.

Rudge said we’re competing with needs from across the state including major urban areas like Austin and others. Rudge also said COVID-19 is making for some challenging decisions for government leaders.

“Instead they {TTC} recognized a statewide need of trying to alleviate congestion in Downtown Austin on I-35 so that was where they placed their money for most of the next few years,” said Rudge.

The College Station project is now estimated to cost $69 million. The MPO has set aside $5 million for it.

”It will most likely be delayed now unless you know there’s like a vaccine for the virus and the gas revenues come back up again,” said Rudge.

They hoped to start construction in 2025.

”We always want the best for College Station and if the intersection’s going to be what’s best for College Station then we support that,” said William Cole Geist, who is the store Manager at Aggieland Outfitters. They plan to move their store a few blocks down when the project finally starts. Geist has also been stuck in backups at that intersection.

“Anywhere in College Station the train’s going to stop you so if you can get on an overpass or underpass that will of course help,” said Geist.

Rudge said with the delay they’ll have time to look at construction plans including whether to do the project all at once or in phases.

“Do they want us to shut down the entire road for a period of time and make improvements or do they want to do it over several years and phase it so those are questions we continue to discuss,” said Rudge.

“I think it’ll be well worth the wait,” said Geist.

The big question to still be answered is when the project will start. Rudge said there’s not a definite answer but it could begin as early as 2026. He was optimistic we’d see the project happen before the end of the decade.

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