By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
“Finally!!!” is one word posted by Bill Hollis and felt by thousands in Four Points as the new bypass road between RM 620 and RM 2222 opened northbound on Monday, July 19.
Workers waved to motorists driving on the new road as the Texas Department of Transportation officially opened it around 10 a.m.
The $15.8 million bypass connector road broke ground in December 2019 and now 19 months later, drivers heading northbound on RM 620 can use the bypass to access eastbound RM 2222.
“It’s open. Drove on it this evening. Worked well. Rush hour will be the test,” James Booher posted on the Four Points News Facebook page. “Smooth pavement and the light was fine.”
But Katy Aldredge thought the light was long around midday.
“I traveled on it (Monday) around 11:45 a.m. and hit the light at 2222 right as it turned red. It held so long that I don’t think I really saved any time,” Aldredge posted.
But Brad Wheelis, TxDOT spokesman, explained that traffic flow will be more fluid when the bypass is fully operational.
In the final configuration, the traffic light at the bypass and RM 2222 eastbound will go away. It is only there now so TxDOT can build out the third westbound lane, Wheelis said.
“It will all look much different when we get to the final configuration. (Then) there will be an auxiliary lane as vehicles turn right onto eastbound RM 2222,” Wheelis explained. “It’s like a merge lane so traffic (will have) a free right turn onto RM 2222 into its own lane.”
Ultimately, TxDOT expects the bypass to handle more than 36,000 vehicles a day.
“When fully opened 36,150 vehicles per day,” will travel through the bypass,” Wheelis said.
The 2020 numbers show an average of 38,557 vehicles per day on RM 620 in (both directions) just south of the intersection with 20,163 on RM 2222 (both directions) just east of the intersection, according to TxDOT.
“Some of that is overlap, as vehicles go from one roadway to another,” Wheelis said.
Pre pandemic in 2019, TxDOT shared that about 50,000 vehicles passed through the Four Points intersection per day.
Now that the new northbound lanes are open, there is more work to do with the signals and the tie-in at RM 2222, Wheelis said.
“We don’t have a date for the opening of the southbound direction of the bypass,” Wheelis said. “We do need to restripe and install a turn-bay for southbound RM 620 traffic to turn left onto the bypass as well as additional signal work.”
“The project is expected to be completed in early 2022,” Wheelis said.
This project also includes a northbound merge lane along RM 620 from Steiner Ranch Boulevard to the 1.5-mile bypass.
The other roadwork project simultaneously underway in Four Points is the widening of RM 2222.
“On RM 2222, traffic was shifted to the south side of the road in order for crews to start widening the westbound direction of RM 2222 from River Place Boulevard to the new bypass road,” Wheelis said.
The $23.6 million RM 2222 widening project is adding a third lane on RM 2222 between Bonaventure Drive and McNeil Drive. The project broke ground in January 2019.
The combined $39.4 million roadwork projects in Four Points are to be completed by late this year or early next year and will increase road capacity which will improve traffic flow.
“While construction continues on the RM 620/RM 2222 projects, please use extra caution when traveling through the work zone,” Wheelis said.