A load of road construction could disrupt school pick-up and drop-off at Amarillo schools this fall, with the Texas Department of Transportation’s bridge replacements along Interstate 40 and upgrade of State Loop 335.
Projects on bridges intersecting with Soncy Road, Bell Street, Arthur/Ross, Bushland Road, Whitaker Road, Lakeside Drive and Pullman Road are either underway or expected to start this school year.
Bushland will be sliced in two with the Saturday closure of the underpass at Bushland Road at I-40. TxDOT is replacing the westbound bridge, which suffered some damage when an 18-wheeler plunged off of it and exploded on the supports below.
Superintendent Don Wood suggested using Arnot Road or Atkinson Road as a way around the construction and told detour-takers to set aside at least eight extra minutes to make it to school on time.
The project is expected to last 10 weeks, but could take as long as the entire first semester, Wood said.
Canyon ISD will also be impacted by work in south Amarillo, where the loop will be converted into a four-lane freeway with frontage roads.
Bell Street at Loop 335 will be closed, affecting access to Randall High School and Gene Howe Elementary School. Crossing will not be allowed until early October.
TxDOT Amarillo Area Engineer Randy Hochstein and CISD officials suggest entering and exiting Randall High from the south.
Other TxDOT projects elsewhere in Amarillo are not expected to wrap up until 2019.
TxDOT said the number of road construction projects this year is due in part to funding available for the work that had previously been unavailable.
That, along with agreeable weather this year, has allowed the department to begin replacing bridges that are several decades old, according to TxDOT spokeswoman Sonja Gross.