Society

US 79, can you dig it?

C ont rac t next step in repairs


TxDOT contractor opened up southernmost lane of US 79 at Ham Branch to get a look at problem Thursday. 
Reporter/Mike Brown TxDOT contractor opened up southernmost lane of US 79 at Ham Branch to get a look at problem Thursday. Reporter/Mike Brown A contractor for the Texas Department of Transportation dug down Thursday to the problem that has turned Rockdale’s business intersection into a bottleneck.

The corner of US 79 and FM 487 has been one to avoid for drivers, since it was re-striped to remove the left turn lane off the highway for traffic in both directions.

That’s because a culvert underneath the highway, just east of the mega-busy intersection failed, forcing TxDOT to re-stripe the road to take traffic off the southernmost lane.

Brad Powell of TxDOT told Rockdale City Manager Chris Whittaker “right not we’re hoping you get it repaired by the end of July, but aren’t certain.”

On Thursday, flaggers directed traffic on both US 79 (Cameron Avenue) and FM 487 (Wilcox Street) around the excavation work.


The usually heavy traffic congestion point at the intersection got even more clogged Thursday. While it’s not the city’s responsibility—US 79 falls under the state’s jurisdiction—Rockdale officials have an up close and personal view. Rockdale City Hall is located on the intersection’s southwest corner. The usually heavy traffic congestion point at the intersection got even more clogged Thursday. While it’s not the city’s responsibility—US 79 falls under the state’s jurisdiction—Rockdale officials have an up close and personal view. Rockdale City Hall is located on the intersection’s southwest corner. Powell said the next step will be to take information obtained by looking at the problem on Thursday and work on getting an emergency contract.

Many Rockdale-savvy drivers have been avoiding the intersection, jogging one block north to Bell Avenue by using Bowser Street to the west and several downtown streets to the east. (There are stop lights at Main and Ackerman.

Traffic on Thursday occasionally backed up eastward to the downtown area and Brookshire Bros. to the west.

While the problem doesn’t have anything to do with the City of Rockdale— maintenance of US highways is the responsibility of individual states—city officials certainly have a good look at the situation.

City Hall is located on the southwest corner of the intersection.



At left, there were times when traffic backed up east and west toward and into downtown and close to Brookshire Bros. Above, pilot vehicles were used to move traffic when road construction vehicles choked off highway access to one lane at the intersection. At left, there were times when traffic backed up east and west toward and into downtown and close to Brookshire Bros. Above, pilot vehicles were used to move traffic when road construction vehicles choked off highway access to one lane at the intersection.

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