TxDOT proposes making access roads on Loop 322 one way


ABILENE, Texas - The Texas Department of Transportation is proposing changes on the east and westbound sides of Loop 322.

The agency wants to make the two-way service roads one way.

Madison Cruse, 23, grew up on Westminster Road and knows the neighborhood very well.

"I take that access road everywhere," Cruse said. "It's the main way out the neighborhood."

But TxDOT's proposal will make Loop 322's Frontage Road East one-way from the off-ramp north to the intersection of Frontage Road East and Navajo.

"It will bring a lot of cars in through these relatively small streets," Cruse said.

Moreover, the Frontage Road East intersection with Navajo Trail will become a three-way stop, with Frontage Road East continuing as a two-way road from the Navajo intersection to Hwy 36, according to TxDOT.

"It's important to remember this is not a final concept," TxDOT Spokeswoman Mary Belle Turner said. "So there can be a lot of different changes in between now and whenever the project is actually finalized."

Turner said studies show one-way access roads are safer than two, and she noted that area of Loop 322 is one of the last in Abilene where there are two-way service roads.

The city asked TxDOT to move up the project's priority because of Texas State Technical College's expansion near the Abilene Regional Airport.

"Residents were not given any notice," Abilene City Councilman Bruce Kreitler said. "There was no notice this project was going to happen."

Kreitler doesn't think the project is necessary.

"I personally don't know that it adds anything to safety out there," he said.

But City Council member Kyle McAlister believes this will be a win-win situation.

"We definitely have plenty of time to figure out how to do this safely," McAlister said.

Madison hopes, for the sake of her neighborhood, that McAlister is right.

The Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding a public hearing on the proposed project at 1:30 p.m. on May 10.

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