Bonham -- With the widening of State Highway 121 North in Bonham only days away, business owners and operators along the busy roadway attended a pre-construction meeting Monday evening to learn details of the plan. Officials from TxDOT and the City of Bonham, along with representatives of Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., the company that will do the work, gave an overview of the approximately 19-month-long project.
At the current time, Hwy. 121 North is a two-lane thoroughfare with what one spokesman referred to as a "suicide lane" in the center that often has traffic going head-on as drivers attempt to turn. To increase safety and improve traffic flow, Hwy. 121 North will be significantly widened to a four-lane roadway with a 15-ft. raised median separating traffic. Work is expected to begin Monday, March 4, 2013 and estimated completion is September 2014.
"This is a great project for Bonham, Texas," said Bonham Mayor Roy Floyd of the $7 million improvement to Hwy. 121. "We are thankful. TxDOT has been great to deal with."
In phase one, construction will begin on the east side of Hwy. 121, with all traffic routed to the west side. Work will get underway on the south end on the east side of Hwy 121 North and progress north.
"We hope to have the area in front of high school mostly done when the kids come back in the fall," explained Tim Stone of Martin Marietta Materials.
Stone said he hopes to have the east side of Hwy. 121 North completed by October or November of 2013 and then start work on the west side of the roadway.
At this time, tentative plans call for one new red light to be installed at the south entrance to Wal-Mart.
TxDOT has already secured right-of-way needed for the four-lane highway.
Representatives of TxDOT and Martin Marietta Materials assured business owners that driveways will be accessible at all times.
In places that are currently experiencing a high volume of foot traffic, sidewalks will be installed beside Hwy. 121 North and later extended as demand dictates.
While the 15-ft. raised median will limit access to businesses on the far side of the roadway, TxDOT officials pointed out that the situation will be similar to Texoma Parkway in Sherman where turn lanes are placed at strategic locations.
The City of Bonham will be responsible for maintaining the raised medians when Hwy. 121 North is completed.
Martin Marietta Materials, the second largest aggregate producer in the nation, has a temporary plant set up at the intersection of Silo Road and Hwy 87.
For more information, please call the TxDOT office in Sherman at 903-892-6529.