Esteban BustillosManaging Editor
UTD, Richardson begin expanding Loop Road, plan to finish by 2016
The city of Richardson, in partnership with the university, has started expanding Loop Road through lots A, B, C and D. Construction, which is being done by North Texas Contracting, is slated to be completed by the end of this year.
The project will connect Loop Road from Parking Structure 3 through the parking lots to the Supplemental Utility Plant, and will also add another bridge by Lot R to allow for easier access into campus using Facilities Way.
Edward Witkowski, a project engineer for the city of Richardson who is working on Loop Road, said in an email to The Mercury that the city and UTD began discussing the project in 2009. Voters approved it in 2010.
Doug Tomlinson, Director of engineering and construction planning, said the project helps both the school and the city. It’s beneficial for both parties because it helps them alleviate traffic on Floyd Road, he said, and it helps the flow of traffic throughout campus.
Even though the project is taking place primarily on campus, the city is paying for most of the project, Tomlinson said.
“The city is putting a bunch of the city’s bond money into this work,” he said. “They’re paying for a lot of it.”
The city has contributed $2.7 million to the project, and the university will have added roughly another $1.5 million, he said. Part of that money was spent on renovations last summer as well.
Sections of lots A and B will be cut off for most of the remaining semester, as will large parts of C and D when construction starts there during the summer.
There will also be several spots in these lots that will be permanently cut off because of the road expansion. Parking will compensate for this with the recently reopened Lot Q and Parking Structure 3, according to Director of Parking and Administration Cris Aquino.
Construction during the project will also cut off various sidewalks for different amounts of time, Tomlinson said. The sidewalk that runs in front of the police station will be open for the next few months until crews have finished milling and repaving lots A and B.
The sidewalk that is located between lots A and B will be open only for the next few weeks until crews will have to cross that sidewalk to continue construction between the two lots. This may take anywhere from six to eight weeks, Tomlinson said.
“I don’t know the exact date of transition,” he said. “We’ll have to see what the weather does, how fast they can get in there, how well it goes and if they run into any problems.”
Facilities Management will shut down lots A and B during the early stages of summer to restripe them and do repairs to the pavement, which will be the biggest challenge of the project, Tomlinson said.