Behind the Scene
by Randy Limbird
Editor & Publisher, El Paso Scene
Like most Westsiders, I have been moaning and groaning about the I-10 construction project for the past three years. We’ve dealt with countless lane closings, detours, sometimes complete freeway closures, etc. As soon as one bottleneck opens up, another one is created. To add to the chaos, the Border West Expressway project has been going on at the same time, often shutting down alternate routes to downtown.
So we wanted to find out what all this inconvenience was really leading up. Lisa Tate’s feature story this month focuses on all the improvements that are known as the GO 10 project will bring to the West Side, along with the Border West Expressway.
If the finished product is anything like what TxDOT officials are telling us, we won’t be disappointed.
By the time everything is completed, the West Side will have more than twice the freeway capacity than it had before. That’s such a dramatic increase that traffic jams on the West Side may become a distant memory. Of course, at the same time the improved highway system also may spur further retail and residential growth, so traffic is bound to increase.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come before this shiny new day dawns on the West Side.
Beginning this spring will be a series of projects involving the Sunland Park Drive interchange on I-10 that will go on through the fall. The demolition of the old “flyover ramp” will require two excruciatingly long weekend closures (probably around May) in which not only will the entire freeway be closed, but so will be the Sunland Park Drive bridge crossing I-10. The closures are expected to last from Friday night to Monday morning. This will wreak havoc on Sunland Park Mall and surrounding merchants.
But it gets worse! From June through early to mid-fall, traffic going across the Sunland Park Drive bridge over 1-10 will be reduced to one lane in each direction as they extend the main section of the bridge to cover the expanded freeway lanes. That means months of traffic tie-ups.
The good news is the overall GO 10 project is running ahead of schedule and most of it will be finished by Thanksgiving, according to TxDOT El Paso District engineer Bob Bielek. That will be the best Christmas present ever for Westsiders.
By the way, we encourage everyone to sign up for the construction updates – see the information listed under “Staying in touch” on Pages 20-21.
I also recommend that everyone go to go10elpaso.com/en/newsroom/video.html and watch a very realistic graphic representation of what the new, improved freeway system will look like and how it will change traffic flow along the West Side. While you’re at it, you should also watch the corresponding “flyover video” at
borderwestexpressway.com, which shows how the Border Highway (Loop 375) is being expanded from Downtown El Paso to the West Side, and how it will provide the equivalent of a parallel freeway.
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Myrna Zanetell in her Gallery Talk on Page 25 pays tribute to artist John Houser, who died in January at age 82.
I had the opportunity to meet with John many times, particularly when we were putting together a booklet on the creation of the Fray Garcia monument. I hope his son Ethan carries forward the vision for the XII Travelers project.
Here's the Ticket
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
Keep on Bookin'
Copyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.