Latest freeway beautification project to focus on downtown

EL PASO, Texas - Work is underway to bring more life and color to parts of Interstate 10.

Its part of the beautification projects to make the freeway more pleasing to the eye for commuters and travelers driving through El Paso.

The last project completed was the Spaghetti Bowl that now illuminates at night with star-shaped light fixtures. It was also given a new look with fresh paint and new designs on pillars of the freeway.

The City of El Paso has contracted the Texas Department of Transportation to spruce up the freeway near the downtown exit, including the overpasses that cross I-10.

One look at the areas current state and drivers can see dull, faded colors on concrete barriers along I-10 and an outdated design.

El Paso District Engineer for TxDOT, Bill Bielek said the changes will be seen on I-10 west to Thorne Avenue.

A second part of the project will add landscaping and hardscaping near the Spaghetti Bowl.

The fencing along the overpasses and bridges that cross the freeway in downtown will be removed and replaced with more decorative ones.

"Every one is going to be slightly different, there's a design for each of the bridges. You're going to see an awful lot of arches, that theme is going to be carried through  out the bridges," said Bielek.

The color scheme will also coincide with the newly updated work at the Spaghetti Bowl.

The price tag for the entire project is $8.8 million dollars funded by the City of El Paso, but the work will be done by TxDOT.

In April, city council approved to swap money with TxDOT.

TxDOT had $10 million to improve parts of I-10 but the funding had to go pedestrian projects.

At the same time, the city had some pedestrian projects ready for funding.

As a result, TxDOT is going to using the city's money and the city is going to use TxDOT's money to get its respective projects done.

Bielek said  the projects are expected to be complete this fall.

"It'll give a new look and feel to traveling through El Paso."

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