Council gets sneak peek at Airway and I-10 project plans

EL PASO, Texas - Tuesday's City Council meeting included several items expected to beautify El Paso roads in the future.

Among the agenda items was a sneak peek at the aesthetic improvements planned for the Interstate 10 and Airway Boulevard interchange.

That freeway interchange has remained relatively unchanged since it was built back in the 1960's. But a new $10 million project being pursued by the City, TxDOT and the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority is expected to begin in 2014 completely change the area by the end of the year.

"What you see is what we are going to build, unless we run into some technical or structural issues," said Vicki Scuri, artist for SiteWorks out of Seattle, which designed the project. "We've had such great responses in all the public meetings and (Tuesday) at City Council. I think people are looking for a change and people are looking for something that celebrates the community."

The concept, since it's along the El Paso International Airport corridor, is that of flight or the movement from earth to sky. All aspects of the design are influenced by things relating to airplanes, birds and El Paso's sunsets and sunrises.

Scuri said plans include making the area more pedestrian friendly.

"Everything goes against the pedestrian right now," Scuri said.

Maj. Chip Potter, who is from Montana but transferring to Fort Bliss in the near future, stayed at a hotel near Airway with his wife on Monday night.

After seeing the project design Potter said: "I think it really transforms it. It's hard to clean up concrete and this is a sure way to do that. It makes it fit with the community and it's beautiful."

Members of Council said it's time to fix up the City.

"It's a very exciting time in El Paso," City Rep. Cortney Niland said. "It affects how you feel about our City, it affects how you feel about living here and it affects how you look at investing in our City."

City Rep. Steve Ortega added: "We want to make sure our community is as attractive as possible for future jobs, future investments, etc. And that Airway corridor, you hear the saying first impressions mean a lot? That's where people get their first impression when flying into El Paso."

Ortega came up with another plan Tuesday to beautify the roads. Council unanimously passed a plan to systematically address the more than 500 medians in El Paso that are not landscaped. City staff was directed to come up with a plan for undeveloped meetings as soon as possible. High visibility medians are expected to be at the top of the list.


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