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City seeks $11M for Eagle Dr. upgrades

BY BOBBY HORN JR.
MONT BELVIEU— In November, the City of Mont Belvieu will ask voters to approve an $11 Million Bond referendum designed to improve mobility along Eagle Drive.
The election will be held Nov. 6.
City administrator Bryan Easum said city was looking at spending $9.3 Million for the project but even with voters approval it would be a couple of years before construction could begin the city wanted a little extra cushion in the event of price increases for materials.
The plan, Easum said, is to convert Eagle Drive into a four-lane road with either a center turning lane or boulevard-style median. Plans call for sidewalks to be installed along both sides of the street. In order to avoid the use of ditches the city plans to install an underground storm sewer system, add landscaping along the roadway and install additional traffic signals.
“It is imporatnt for us to get the water off Eagle Drive when it rains,” he said.
Where and how many traffic signals, Easum said, has yet to be determined.
As engineers begin designing the expansion Easum said that a speed study would also be conducted to determine if the current speed limits are appropriate for the street. Currently the speed limit is 45 mile per hour and 35 miles per hour in the school zone. The Barbers Hill ISD has not requested a lower school zone limit.
The new Eagle Drive will extend from Interstate 10 in the south, north to FM 565 just south of the City Hall Complex.
Easum explained that travels north of FM 565 and connects with SH 146 is technically a state highway. With other projects under consideration, he said, the state has not given any indication of improvements along that stretch of road that passes by Eagle Pointe.
Easum noted that while growth has not been large as anticipated, more congestion is the future is anticipated. The improvements, he added, would also solve left turn conflicts on the road.
“It’s obvious that trafiic is getting worse and worse on Eagle Drive,” he said,
A recent mobility study shows that 20,000 vaehicles use Eagle Drive during a given 24-hour period.
If the bonds are approved, Easum said that is would take between a year and 18 months for engineers to draw up the design plans. From that point the city would have to go out for bids, with construction not likely to begin before Fall 2009.