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TxDOT plan to widen Hwy 377 in Brownwood will impact several homes

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - A proposed road expansion project with the goal of eliminating the number of accidents at a busy Brownwood intersection will end up impacting several property owners.

The Texas Department of Transportation wants to add a center turn lane on Highway 377 near St. Mary's Catholic Church and Howard Payne University. The lane would start on Lipscomb Street and go to Austin Avenue.

Brownwood City Council members unanimously voted on Tuesday to submit an application to participate in the 2017 Economic Disadvantaged Counties Program, which would make the city responsible for only 3 percent of the project's total cost, according to TxDOT's Brownwood Office spokesman Andrew Carlson.

"It's really a safety issue, especially as we get to Austin Avenue," Carlson said. "There is a small left turn lane on Austin Avenue, but it's very short."

TxDOT reports approximately 78 crashes have taken place in that intersection of Austin Avenue since January of 2010.

Three house are located in the project's vicinity on Hwy 377 between Whaley and Gill streets.

Joshua Dillard lives in one of those houses.

"It was passed down from my grandmother," Dillard said. "She gave it to me after she passed away."

Carlson said TxDOT would pay the homeowners a fair market value if the project moves forward and the homes are demolished.

But Dillard said it's the sentimental value of the home he fears of losing.

"I would be willing to sell, but it would hurt because it's been a family heirloom ... my whole life. It's my home," Dillard said.

The Texas Department of Transportation plans to hold another public meeting on the proposed project sometime in the future, according to Carlson.

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