Homeowners react to new phase of Taft widening project

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Homeowners are reacting to the next phase of an 18-month project to widen Taft Boulevard.

A set of homes nestled at the very end of Taft, right before you get on Kemp, have already been dealing with the removal of the existing road to make way for that new one, which has some homeowners worried about how easily they will be able to get to and from their homes. The next project phase, 1B, is set to start next week.

“I’m an older person and I leave before the sun comes up, and sometimes I come home after the sun goes down. There are no city lights over here, so it did concern some of us about how are we going to get down here to our homes at night,” said Sheri Webb, homeowner.

Wichita Falls engineers are working on the Taft Boulevard Widening Project that passed in a 2018 Street Bond, but construction just got underway in June.

They have come up with a plan to assure homeowners getting in and out won’t be an issue when they began breaking ground last week on part 1B of the five-phase project.

“For the side of the road the homes face on, they’ll have that gravel drive to drive on to get in and out of their driveways. Once the south half of the street is complete we’ll pour concrete in front of their houses, we’ll go driveway by driveway,” Rick Branum, staff engineer of Wichita Falls.

But those newly poured driveways could take days to dry and even longer depending on the upcoming winter weather.

“That would probably be the biggest thing we’re looking at that could happen to us is weather delays based on what kind of snow we get this year, if we get another ice storm or something like that,” said Branum.

This means residents like Webb, a school teacher, will have to park their cars on the street further down Taft and walk to their homes.

“They have promised us we will be able to get to our homes and it will be okay but I have great neighbors that will walk with me,” said Webb. “There is a website that we go to daily to see where they it’s in phases and I’d say every other week, they tell us what’s going on which is a help.”

While folks that call this end of Taft home will be losing portions of their driveways, sidewalks and even a few feet in their backyards due to drainage that the new road requires, they say working with the city and construction crews has been an overall good experience.

“There are some people that it does impact more than others but we try to do our best to accommodate those people,” said Branum

Starting next week on Tuesdays and Fridays, city officials will be also be picking up those homeowner’s trash cans down the street so their service is not interrupted and it’s one less thing for them to worry about.

To get updates on The Taft Boulevard Widening Project, visit this website.

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