Standstill on Highway 87 North coming to end
By Robin Scott
This past April area residents learned that the portion of Highway 87 North out of Dalhart that was slated for widening and an upgrade was at an indefinite standstill. In a meeting of the Dalhart Area Rotary Club held on April 2nd, Donald “Don” Drickey, Area Engineer for the Dumas/Amarillo District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot), addressed issues about road and bridge construction, including Phase IV of the construction on Highway 87.
During that hour-long luncheon, Drickey stated that the construction in progress on Highway 87, called Phase III, was expected to be completed in late fall. As to Phase IV, which extends out of Phase III toward Dalhart, he stated, “It is at a standstill. All of the right of way land has been purchased and utilities are in the process of being moved, but there is still no funding.”
Good news has finally arrived concerning Highway 87. Drickey noted last Friday that, “The project will have a letting in November, probably December.” According to Drickey, the “letting” is the process of opening up the project to accept bids from contractors. He further noted, “There were some projects funded with stimulus money that came in for less than the money allotted.” The money for the projects Drickey spoke of came from Federal stimulus money from President Obama’s stimulus package. Monies left over from other projects will now fund the Highway 87 Phase IV project and will end the standstill.
Area residents and travelers heading to or from Dalhart to or from Texline have endured the construction and widening of Highway 87 for quite sometime. An eight-mile stretch of highway continues to have work going on in the southbound widening project, but from the entrance of Premium Standard Farms to Dalhart the highway is only two-lane with no center median. Once completed, all of highway 87 will be four-lane with a wide grassy median. Crews may be seen creating the southbound lanes in between PSF and just north of Dalhart.
Other stimulus money that Texas received is in visible use currently as the northbound lanes of Highway 87 between Hartley and Dalhart are getting a makeover. Back in April, Drickey stated, “TxDot did not have the money, but will use 5.6 million from the stimulus money to resurface the roadway.” That project is expected to take several months for completion; however, is well underway. The northbound portion of the project is nearly completed and the smooth roadway is proof that stimulus money has made a difference in Texas.
For more information about road construction projects in the Dallam/Hartley County area please contact TxDot at www.dot.state.tx.us or Donald Drickey at firstname.lastname@example.org.