Utility relocation makes room for 2222 expansion

Since Dec. 3, right of way clearing has been underway along RM 2222 in Four Points. This photo taken at the intersection of River Place Boulevard and RM 2222 on Thursday, Jan. 10 shows the many utility lines that will be moved to make way for widening the busy road. ELLIE SEITZLER

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

The $23.6 million, RM 2222 widening project is underway in the heart of Four Points as utility moving has begun while clearing the right of way continues.

The project is expected to increase road capacity which will improve mobility and cut down on congestion.

“Utility relocation is underway,” said Bradley Wheelis, TxDOT Public Information Officer. Tree clearing started Dec. 3 to stay ahead of endangered bird nesting, he added.

TxDOT is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the project which will add a through-travel lane eastbound from Bonaventure to Sitio Del Rio Boulevard and westbound from Ribelin Ranch Drive to Sitio Del Rio Boulevard. The project also includes turn lanes and a raised median.

The speed limit was reduced to 45 mph on Friday, Jan. 11 from .3 miles west of River Place Boulevard to Ribelin Ranch Drive, in both directions.

“This will continue for the duration of construction,” Wheelis said. The RM 2222 roadwork is expected to be complete summer 2020.

Project updates

TxDOT’s website will show construction updates starting in a few days. Type in “RM 2222” in the search function of TxDOT.gov

“In the next week, we’ll have a breakdown of construction phasing online,” Wheelis said.

Also to help inform the community, anyone can sign up for email updates. A new, dedicated email  was finalized on Thursday for the RM 2222 and RM 620 widening and bypass projects: FourPointsImprovements@txdot.gov

“Let folks know if they want updates on the project they can be added to our email list,” Wheelis said.

The best way to get on the email list is to send TxDOT an email with “Updates” in the subject line. He said it is not necessary to write anything in the body of the email.

TxDOT will also Tweet information out as the project goes along.

“We will Tweet lane closure information,” Wheelis said.

RM 2222 Phases 1-3

In July, the Texas Transportation Commission awarded a $23.6 million contract to move utilities and widen RM 2222. Capital Excavation Company won the contract.

There are nine phases once the project is handed over to the contractor.

The contractor will be nimble and if weather prevents work on one area, then they can work on another area, as usual at construction sites.

The first three phases of the project are expected to take six months, weather permitting. This is what is TxDOT expects during that time between River Place Boulevard and McNeil Drive:

  • Minimal widening on north side of RM 2222
  • Widening on south side of RM 2222
  • Drainage work in center of roadway
  • New dedicated right turn lane from northbound River Place Boulevard to eastbound RM 2222
  • Dual left turn lanes from eastbound RM 2222 to northbound McNeil Drive reduced to one lane for up to eight working days
  • Two lanes of traffic maintained at all times with lane shifts as needed

Bypass road

Construction is expected to start this fall for the $10 million bypass road. This project goes out for bid in the summer and is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020, Wheelis said.

The bypass project consists of adding an outside northbound merge lane along RM 620 from Steiner Ranch Boulevard to a new bypass road to be constructed about a mile north of Steiner Ranch Boulevard to RM 2222. The  bypass connector road will run along transmission lines between RM 620 and RM 2222.

These two projects have been in the works for five years.