Inner Loop Project Begins
News Source: KVIA
Oct. 20, 2007
EL PASO, TX. - Breaking ground and making history Saturday, the city, Fort Bliss and the Texas Department of Transportation open up construction of the Inner Loop.
It's supposed to change the way El Pasoans drive across the city. The Spur 601 Project - which is better known as the Inner Loop Project - is supposed to be finished in about 3 years. That's just in time to accommodate the tens of thousands of additional soldiers that will be stationed at Fort Bliss.
Hundreds of residents gathered in East El Paso for the Inner Loop groundbreaking ceremony. Federal, state and local leaders were on hand to do the honors. "This is a historic day for Fort Bliss," said Maj.Gen. Robert Lennox.
The 7-mile project will connect U.S. Highway-54 to Loop 375 through Fort Bliss. It will cost $367 million dollars. Private contractor JD Abrams has stepped in to finance, design and build the project. The state will reimburse the company.
"Those people who live in far east el paso who need to get to Northeast or get to Fort Bliss no longer have to travel to Montana, they can get on Loop 375," said Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton, Jr.
Within a few years, 20,000 new soldiers will be stationed at Fort Bliss. Many will live on Biggs Field with their families and others will live throughout the city. Officials are counting on the new freeway to help ease the headaches that are bound to come with that many people on their way.
"We wouldn't be able to get to work in the morning if we didn't have a project like this. So it's going to tremendously impact our families in a very positive way," said Lennox. The project is supposed to relieve traffic on Montana and add more gates to Biggs Army Airfield.
"You can just imagine trying to get 25,000 soldiers off and on every morning, not including their family members who might be going to commissaries, school. It would have been a horrendous traffic issue," added El Paso Mayor John Cook. It's the first time in the U.S. a private company has ever stepped in to help with traffic construction. TXDOT says this intervention will get the project done faster than if it was financed by the state.