City hosts meeting on University widening

City officials will have a public meeting on Monday to update University Boulevard residents about the impending project to widen the thoroughfare, with clearance work set to begin by the end of the month.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday in the Odessa College fine arts auditorium, 201 W. University Blvd.

The $15 million project, funded through a 2013 public works bond, will widen the thoroughfare to five lanes and straighten a curve near the YMCA. Construction could take two years, but city officials do not plan to close the thoroughfare.

Plans call for crews this month to begin clearing land for the widened roadway, including utility poles and fences. Traffic Operations Superintendant Hal Feldman said traffic should be reduced to one lane in each direction.

“We are attempting to keep University open during construction, but there are going to be delays, so we are advising people to seek an alternate route if you don’t have a destination in that corridor,” Feldman said.

Last month, the city reported reaching deals to purchase all 72 properties sought along University Boulevard to make way for the widening project, ruling out the use of eminent domain. Total costs of the acquisitions were estimated at about $1.47 million.

The city is still finalizing a deal to buy a new building for Masons in exchange for their Fellowship Lodge No. 1385 at 3041 E. University Blvd.

The company that will clear the roadway is Onyx General Contractors, which was awarded a more than $2.1 million contract by the city last month.

Clearance work is expected to wrap up around June. Plans call for road construction to follow in late summer 2018 on the first phase of the project, widening the area of the thoroughfare from Andrews Highway to Maple Avenue.

Contact Corey Paul on Twitter @OAcrude on Facebook at OA Corey Paul or call 432-333-7768.

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