Public comments still sought
The Dayton Train, or more specifically how to get around it, was the hot topic at the Dayton Community Center last Thursday evening as TxDOT shared plans and asked for public input from the community.
Dayton area residents filled the Dayton Community Center to learn of the proposed new bridge overpass running over the Union Pacific Railroad on US HWY 90.
“I was pleased to see the turnout that Dayton had for the initial public meeting hosted by TXDOT concerning the US90/UPRR overpass project. Folks are paying attention, and they are offering feedback, which is greatly appreciated and needed to help facilitate the changes coming to our area,” Liberty County Judge Jay Knight said.
Attendees had an opportunity to view a brief video presentation, look at graphics of the proposal, and pose questions to TxDOT employees about the project. Afterward, anyone who wished to submit questions or concerns over the proposal had the opportunity to do so at that time.
That video presentation demonstrates future traffic growth and its impact if left in the current form and the improvement to traffic movement the project would bring.
According to representatives of TxDOT, the purpose of the project is to enhance safety
and improve mobility by eliminating the at-grade crossing of US 90 and the Union Pacific Railroad as the future volume of both vehicles and train traffic is expected to increase.
That proposed project would extend for approximately one mile and take place in the current right of way, which would range from 128-131 feet wide on US 90, with the overpass and 14’ wide U-turns being added on both sides of the railroad.
That one-mile stretch would begin at the US 90 and HWY 146 intersection and proceed west over the tracks heading out of town.
The overpass bridge structure will span approximately 1,100 feet long and allow train and vehicular traffic to proceed unhindered, thus eliminating the issues at the intersection.
One project area that has drawn some concern is the proposed closure of Waco Street at the rail crossing.
“We realize that this particular plan has potential for closing Waco,” Knight said.
Waco has historically served as one of the significant feeder roadways off US 90 for traffic flow in the Dayton area. Some citizens have expressed concerns over where that traffic will go, as it leaves only HWY 321, Main, and Winfree as feeders in the city limits.
According to TxDOT’s Sarah Dupre, nothing is finalized, but that is part of the current proposal, and any additional crossings would not be included in this project.
“In the meantime, we are working towards the goal of establishing another crossing that will be much better,” Knight said.
Liberty County acquired $57 million through grants, and the agreements are being made between the county, TxDOT, and Union Pacific, with input from the community.
“We have a bunch more to do, so let’s keep up the great teamwork between all of the concerned entities and move these important projects forward,” Knight concluded.
Currently, the project is in the schematic design and environmental phase, with the environmental clearance expected around the Summer of 2023. The environmental end will consider several factors such as land use, hazardous material sites, threatened and endangered species/ habitats, floodplains, and socio-economic impact.
If the plan is approved, a start date should come in 2024.
For those unable to attend last week’s public meeting, there is still an opportunity to participate and learn about the project and submit input.
Visit www.txdot.gov and search “US 90 UPRR,” where you can view the same video and look at illustrations and information on the proposal. There are several options to submit comments via the web, phone, or mail. All comments must be submitted or postmarked by Friday, April 15, and included in the summary report.
Anyone needing more information or has any questions is encouraged to contact the TxDOT Beaumont District Office at 409-898- 5732 or email them at email@example.com.