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Sunday, June 24, 2001
Last modified at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, 2001
© 2001 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Sharp Freeway construction to give Lubbock new look


By JOHN FUQUAY
Avalanche-Journal

Although the first section of pavement for Lubbock's third major highway won't be laid until next year, the Marsha Sharp Freeway project is expected to change the face of downtown later this summer.

The Burris grain elevator at Fourth Street and Avenue K will be eliminated from the downtown skyline to make room for the $343 million, nine-mile controlled access highway.

The highway's construction is supervised by the Texas Department of Transportation, and TxDOT planners have not yet secured a demolition contract for the elevator. The demolition contractor will determine whether to use explosives or other means to bring down the massive structure.

A major east-west thoroughfare was first discussed in 1943. Despite being one of Texas' largest cities, Lubbock has only two uninterrupted highways — Loop 289 and Interstate 27.

The route of Lubbock's third controlled access highway, whish was named after Texas Tech's women's basketball coach, will be significant, running past the largest hospitals district on the South Plains.

The freeway will also pass Jones Stadium, United Spirit Arena and Municipal Coliseum and connect to all major highways entering the city.

The highway and frontage roads will run along the Brownfield Highway from Loop 289 in southwest Lubbock to Interstate 27 in North Lubbock. The project includes four flyover bridges — one for each direction of traffic for the loop and flyovers connecting Highway 114 (19th Street) to the freeway.

Funding for the project so far has been limited to right-of-way acquisition.

Construction on the first part of the highway is scheduled to begin next year when TxDOT awards a contract for the flyover interchange at Loop 289. The next contract, to be awarded in 2003, is the portion of the roadway that goes through Tech.

The entire project is to be complete by 2010.


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