The second of three public meetings regarding construction on Red Oak Road, Water Street, North Main Street and an alley west of Methodist was held Thursday evening, Jan. 18, at Red Oak Junior High, with representatives from the city of Red Oak and Freese and Nichols, Inc. welcoming questions and concerns from residents.

The construction, which is slated to begin in April, will widen Red Oak Road from Live Oak to State Highway 342 to a four-lane, non-divided road, with flares to five lanes at intersections. Traffic lights will be placed at the intersections of Live Oak and Red Oak Road and Methodist and Red Oak Road and a 5-foot wide sidewalk will be added on each side of Red Oak Road. The drainage system will be placed underground.

Along with widening Red Oak Road, Freese and Nichols, Inc. plans to remove the “S” curve at Methodist and Red Oak Road. TxDOT will align the new Red Oak Road overpass with Red Oak Road by constructing a new Red Oak Road from the overpass, connecting at Live Oak.

The change in the drainage system on Red Oak Road will lower the road three to four feet in some areas.

“Red Oak Road sits very high. That’s one reason it has lasted so long,” Sugg said. “In order for us to take this drainage underground, we’re lowering the road.”

All overhead utilities along Red Oak Road will be put underground.

Work on North Main Street will stretch from Red Oak Road to Bob White Drive, and will widen the road to include two 13-1/2 foot lanes, as well as at least one 5-foot wide sidewalk along the road. All drainage currently along the road will be put underground.

Water Street will be widened from Waller Street to South Main Street to include two 13-1/2 foot lanes with an improved drainage system underground. At least one 5-foot wide sidewalk will be added along the road.

The alley west of Methodist, from Red Oak Road to Waller, will be transformed into a pedestrian trail, going along with the city of Red Oak’s master trail system.

“The reason we’re doing this is because we’re putting a drainage system here,” said project manager Ted Sugg with Freese and Nichols, Inc. “We’re going to tear this alley up, so we decided to improve it as well. Everyone wants trails. The city has a trail plan, but they can’t build it all at once. This will be a start.”

With the expansion of the roads comes the task of taking right-of-way from property along the roads.

“As engineers, we like to take every step possible to minimize that,” Sugg said of right-of-way requirements. “We don’t like to take your land.”

Sugg said that residents who will be affected by the right-of-way requirements will be approached individually by a representative from the city or Freese and Nichols, Inc. and any residents with questions may contact Deannie Blake at the city of Red Oak at (972) 576-3414.

“We’re probably about 45-50 percent into our design,” Sugg said, saying that the plan is to complete the construction in multiple phases. “How are we going to build this without disrupting anyone — we’re not. I’ll be honest with you.”

Sugg said that residences and businesses will have access at all times. However, Sugg said that some roads will probably be closed temporarily throughout the construction, and the construction crew may have one-way traffic or two-way traffic using flagmen during the construction phases.

“We will have one-way traffic in some areas. There is a possibility that we will have detours,” Sugg said. “It’s a big project. There’s going to be multiple phases.”

Sugg said construction is planned to complete in April of 2008 and that TxDOT plans to begin construction on their portion of Red Oak Road in September, completing in April of 2008 as well.

“The goal is to have both projects done at the same time,” Sugg said. “These are really wonderful projects that will improve this city.”

The city and Freese and Nichols, Inc. plan to have the final public meeting at the end of March or early April.

“That meeting will be more about getting your input on the construction phasing,” Sugg said.

Sugg encouraged any residents with questions or concerns to call the designated project hotline at (972) 822-1715, which calls a cell phone that is constantly in the possession of a Freese and Nichols, Inc. representative.

“It is in my pocket or Heather’s pocket at all times. I can’t guarantee that I will answer it, but I will call you back,” Sugg said.