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Highway 24 widening inches forward

The process to widen Highway 24 continues to grind forward.

The Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority approved the local project advance funding agreement Thursday.The agreement between SuRRMA and the state of Texas is the local complement of the overarching master advance funding agreement, which has already been approved.

“That is a big log jam removed,” SuRRMA chairman Delbert Horton said. “The SIB people have told me that’s a trigger for them to get their documents to us.”

According to a Texas Department of Transportation project update, the State Infrastructure Bank loan should be available around the end of the month.

TxDOT will fund most of the $38.6 million project to widen Highway 24 to four lanes in Delta County. SuRRMA has taken a loan from TxDOT’s State Infrastructure Bank to pay for the remaining $4.5 million. The funds will be used to purchase the land needed for highway right of way.

SuRRMA relies on funding from other regional bodies to pay for the loan – Delta County, Cooper, Paris, Lamar County and Paris Economic Development Corp.

As part of the LPAFA, SuRRMA had asked for a quarterly update on the finances as the state purchased right of way, but that language was taken out of the final draft. The local TxDOT office has agreed to try to generate a quarterly report.

“I thought it best to bring all this to the board, present it and see what y’all want to do,” Horton said. “It’s been changed a little, not really that much.”

Other parts of the project are moving forward, as well.

The right of way plans are divided into three sections. Cooper to Klondike, Klondike to Jernigan Creek, and the creek toward Hunt County. Consultants have delivered the second section’s revisions and are working to bring the first section’s plats, deed descriptions and map into TxDOT specifications.

In addition, TxDOT’s design division has approved a revised schematic for a narrower crossing at Jernigan Creek.

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