New details on tolls, design for Loop 375 extension

New details on the tolls and design for last part of 375

EL PASO, Texas - The final parts of a completed Loop 375 around El Paso are nearing the start of construction. ABC-7 has new details about changes in the design and what kinds of tolls you'll end up paying to drive on it once completed.

Starting early next year, the $600 million-plus Border Highway West Extension Project will connect the loop across the west side. The city took steps to fund its end of the project Tuesday, and ABC-7 talked with the project engineer about the changes and tolls that could be put in place once it's done.

City Council Tuesday agreed to contribute $2.2 million in cash and land toward a total land acquisition budget of $50.7 million

One major change is that the final design of the loop extension will go under Executive Center Boulevard instead of over, as had been shown in previous animation of the 9-mile project from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Otherwise, the design for the rest of the project is expected to stay the same and take three years to complete. It will run from Racetrack Drive to the Park Street along the Cesar Chavez Border Highway in south central El Paso.

The entire stretch will be tolled, and offer relief from congestion on I-10 and Paisano Drive.

"I think individuals understand that sometimes you can be locked into I-10," said City Rep. Cortney Niland. "And to have alternative routes to get around our community, is something I think our citizens are willing to pay for. And so I'm really excited that we're able to bring this to fruition, and I'm excited to be able to offer it to the citizens."

Some construction that will tie into the loop extension is already underway. The Spur 1966 project near the University of Texas at El Paso will connect Schuster Avenue to Paisano Drive. Loop 375 will also connect into that overpass.  

The majority of the project will be tolled, and TxDOT has some of the toll range estimates under consideration. Right now, it's looking like it will cost you $1.12 to use the loop extension during rush hour times, from about 6-9 a.m. in the morning, and 4-7 p.m. in the afternoon. Tolls will be 56 cents during off-peak hours. Big rigs using the new roadway can expect to pay $5.60 as well.

"Everywhere where there's not an existing roadway today, will be tolled," said project manager Sergio Garcia. "And that is the stretch from Racetrack to Santa Fe Street."

How the tolls will be charged for different lengths on the new loop extension is still being worked on, and exact hours for the different levels could still be adjusted before implementation.

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