Intersection hazard

Staff photo by Albert Villegas

A tractor trailer maneuvers cautiously from Richmond Road (SH 60) to FM 102 in Wharton. The scene is repeated several times day and night due to lack of space at the intersection.

It will be two years until the intersection of FM 102 and State Highway 60, better known to locals as Richmond Road, will be upgraded to acceptable driving standards.

What’s most important is that the road will be expanded to give persons who are driving long tractor trailers the opportunity to maneuver in every direction they need. Presently, this is not possible as motorists sometimes back up to give truck drivers the room to negotiate a right or left turn. The three-way intersection is equipped with traffic lights. So many times, it gives motorists ample time to avoid being hit head-on by a truck driver.

City Secretary Paula Favors said according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), “they are looking for the FM 102/SH 60 road work to begin in the spring of 2023.”

To make this possible, the City of Wharton and TxDOT began working together to find some solution.

December meetings between city staff and TxDOT’s Yoakum District led to elected leaders here making the final decision to improve matters on these two roads that have been maintained by the State of Texas, not the City of Wharton.

In those December regular meetings, the Wharton City Council approved a request from TxDOT for right-of-way for the proposed traffic signal upgrade at SH 60 and FM 102. The council also passed a resolution approving an agreement between the city and TxDOT to contribute right-of-way funds.

Jeffery Vinklarek, director of Transportation Planning and Development with the Yoakum District said the total estimated cost of the right-of-way is $19,000. The city would be responsible for 10 percent, which would be $1,900 and TxDOT responsible for 90 percent, which is $17,100.

TxDOT would like to start acquiring the right-of-way after the new year, and they are needing the city’s portion before the project starts.

TxDOT is also proposing to replace the traffic signals on FM 102. The proposed construction will require .0716 acres of new right of at the intersection of FM 102 and SH 60. TxDOT is asking the city for a fixed amount of the estimated cost of right of way acquisition and eligible utility adjustments.

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