TxDOT's proposal for construction along Brownwood's Main Street could impact homeowner

A highway project that the Texas Department of Transportation is proposing in Brownwood to widen a busy intersection could affect several homes.

In a public meeting last Thursday, TxDOT proposed adding turning lanes along Main Street from Austin Avenue to the Truman Harlow Overpass and one of the main reasons for the project is to prevent collisions that happen when vehicles attempt to make turns.

According to TxDOT, the agency wants to add right turning lanes from Austin Avenue to Main Street and a center turning lane from the Truman Harlow Overpass to Austin Avenue.

However, the agency's recent proposal is far narrower in scope than the plan that TxDOT presented last July.

"There was significant public input against acquiring additional right-of-way between Baker [Street] and Austin [Avenue] at the first public meeting about this project," said Mary Belle Olson, the spokeswoman for TxDOT's Abilene office.

Three houses could be impacted by the current plan, but Olson said that the project is still in the design phase.

As the project is currently presented, Steve McCrane said that TxDOT would want to remove the front porch of his home located on the 1000 block of Main Street and move the house back by 10 feet.

"I'm not even going to rent it out or do anything with it until we figure out if it can be moved back 10 feet," McCrane said.

McCrane said that TxDOT has been working with him on their plans to widen local roads.

Damionn French has been working for McCrane to restore the historic house that is owned by McCrane.

"The porch was replaced, the decking and the house was leveled," French said. "So that's one of the problems of moving the house back, we just leveled the house."

According to TxDOT, the proposed road-widening project could cost anywhere from $2 million to $4 million and will not be awarded to a bidding construction company until January of 2022.

Olson said that TxDOT plans to hold two more public input meetings, with the first one planned for the fall of 2018.

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