Mansfield to widen East Broad Street

Posted Monday, Jun. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In a macabre coincidence, the City Council on Monday awarded a $3.35 million contract to widen and make safer a nearly 1-mile stretch of East Broad Street where a two-car collision killed two young people and seriously injured three others a day earlier.

Three residents cited the wreck, which occurred at the entrance of the Lowe’s Farm subdivision, as they urged the council to not only approve the project but also step up its construction time line.

“This is just kind of the nail in the coffin for us,” said Heather McGary, who lives in the subdivision, east of Texas 360 in an area of east Mansfield where residential and commercial development has boomed over the past decade. “We need that road widened. We want it done now. We can’t wait two months.”

Public Works Director Steve Freeman said the contracted completion time is about a year, which he called a very lean time line. As with most construction contracts, he said, the city sets a tight schedule and builds in penalties for running late.

“We might be able to get them to shave a month off it, but we’re not going to get them to do it in, like, six months,” Freeman said outside of the council chambers.

The project was part of the 2004 city bond election but wasn’t scheduled for funding until 2009, the final year of the five-year program. Freeman said the city had some difficulty acquiring right of way along the 4,500-foot construction route, and a gas company recently completed its relocation of a major pipeline, which took 3 1/2 months, Freeman said.

XIT Paving and Construction is contracted to widen East Broad from two lanes to four lanes, with medians, from Holland Road to the Mansfield-Grand Prairie city border at Day Miar Road. The improvements include replacing bar ditches with curbs and gutters and building 8-foot-wide sidewalks.

“This will help improve safety,” said David Boski, a city transportation engineer.

Tarrant County is picking up about half of the project’s cost, using funds from a county bond election. Grand Prairie is expected to contribute $150,000 for the installation of traffic lights at the Broad-Day Miar intersection, Boski said.

In the wreck Sunday afternoon, an eastbound sport utility vehicle with an adult driver and three juvenile passengers swerved into oncoming traffic and collided head on with a pickup, police said.

One of the juveniles was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other died a short time later at a hospital, police said. The driver of the SUV and one juvenile were taken to hospitals.

None of the victims had been identified by Monday evening. The conditions of the survivors could not be learned.

One of the speakers, Kari George of Mansfield, said she is a nurse at Spencer Elementary School and knows the young injured survivor. She said he just finished his fourth-grade year at the school.

Outside the chambers after the council’s unanimous vote, George and the other speakers counted five schools in the vicinity of the road project, which they said add to the traffic and safety concerns.

“The situation we have with all of those schools is all of the in-and-outs on those two lanes,” Sean Hedger, who lives in the Mira Lagos subdivision just over the border into Grand Prairie. “That complicates the situation on Broad Street.”

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