Special Reports

ONLY ON ABC-7: Highway construction taking toll on Mesa, TXDOT planning revamp

Special Report: Mesa Mess

EL PASO, Texas - The Go-10 and Border West Expressway projects are well underway in El Paso.

When complete, the new system of highways will help alleviate traffic on I-10 and Paisano.

Meantime, Mesa street is experiencing an increase in traffic and congestion. ABC-7 has learned the Texas Department of Transportation is now beginning to look at Mesa street for its next project.

"We knew that we needed to improve those corridors and now we are looking into Mesa and looking into what improvements we need to do there," TXDOT Project manager Gus Sanchez told ABC-7.

TXDOT is not looking at what can be done to help alleviate congestion for motorists, but also for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. It is putting together a master plan to make Mesa more efficient.

"We are looking at all the users that use Mesa today and maybe in the future," Sanchez added.

TXDOT said the increase in traffic Mesa is experiencing has given it a glimpse into the future of traffic congestion in El Paso if problems are not addressed.

"We are kind of looking at a preview. If we don't do anything to Mesa, if we don't look at any short, middle or long term improvements of Mesa, we know these issues are going to come up so we are trying to get ahead of the curve and do this corridor, this master plan for Mesa," Sanchez said.

The problem now is an increase in traffic has taken a toll on Mesa, meaning maintenance and improvement projects will have to come sooner than expected.

"The maintenance cycle for a road is usually about six or seven years, but now with all the traffic , trucks and vehicles, we are probably looking at a two or three year cycle," Sanchez said, "So we are probably going to have to go back and look at Mesa once again when all this construction is over."

While TXDOT is relying on the latest technology to take a count of traffic everyday on Mesa it feels the best way to get a true understanding of the traffic on Mesa is to talk to the drivers that take it every day.

"Those are the ones who experience the corridor, they are the ones who have the input - they live it everyday. We need to see what they are experiencing and they might come up with some great ideas that we are not seeing so we want to get everyone's support," TXDOT Director of Advanced Transportation Planning Marty Boyd said.

The Mesa street corridor study is one that is ongoing and will continue until winter 2018. TXDOT is looking at traffic counts, crash data, and most importantly drivers concerns about the 12 mile highway. They are holding three public meetings to get recommendations on improvements to the road.

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