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City: Delay likely on 2 MPO projects with $2.5m total price tag

Two projects which were previously submitted to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for funding despite not being ready are likely to be delayed at a meeting of the MPO’s Transportation Policy Board later this week.

As part of the city’s commitment to transparency and improvement regarding the MPO process, staff briefed the City Council on these items in a special city council meeting today.

City staff and HNTB, the outside firm recently hired by the city to help improve the MPO process, told council members that the city agrees with deprogramming $1 million in funding for the Cadwallader Drive Pedestrian Overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad and $1.5 million for Alameda Rapid Transit System Pedestrian Improvements.

The city can reapply for MPO funding for these projects in the future.

“City staff is coordinating with MPO staff on all projects that in are the MPO’s current Transportation Infrastructure Plan. As part of that process, we are evaluating all projects with respect to coordinating schedules with other projects, financial feasibility, and constructability,” said Monica Lombraña, Director of the city’s Capital Improvement Department. “Unlike what has happened in the past, we are committed to only bringing forward projects which are ready to be considered, which can realistically be constructed according to the plans submitted, and which make financial sense.”

The MPO advised city staff that it will consider deprogramming projects because of the following issues:

  • Cadwallader Pedestrian Bridge: This project would be under construction at the same time as Carolina Bridge in early 2016; proceeding with both projects simultaneously would negatively impact mobility in the area. Additionally, through a monthly coordination meeting with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and MPO, it was determined that the project also had constructability, right-of-way, and environmental hurdles that would not have allowed it to meet TxDOT’s timeline.
  • Alameda RTS Pedestrian Improvements: Through coordination with TxDOT, it was determined that the project needed to be deprogrammed until TxDOT completes its study of the entire Alameda Corridor.

The Cadwallader Drive project would supplement the reconstruction of the Carolina Bridge while work on the Alameda RTS Pedestrian Improvements would supplement the creation of Sun Metro’s Alameda Avenue Brio line. Work on the Carolina Bridge and Alameda Brio would not be impacted by the MPO’s decision.

All of these projects represent part of the City of El Paso’s commitment to projects which enhance the city’s infrastructure and transportation network.

Author: City of El Paso

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