More than two years after the construction began, the Grand Street Overpass on Friday opened to traffic. It's welcoming news for motorist who've been patiently waiting since April 2010. The bridge was slated to be completed April 2012, however, Texas Department of Transportation officials say delays pushed that date back.
Many believe the overpass was needed to keep motorist from being stopped for long periods of time at the railroad crossing at 3rd and Grand as trains passed.
"It's also going to help in increasing safety for the folks in the area because first responders are not going to have to go around or stop at the railroad train anymore. They can just use the overpass to get where they need to go," said Paul Braun, TxDOT Spokesman.
The overpass has been years in the making, and Potter County officials say at the helm of that fight, the longest serving commissioner, the late Manny Perez. Former Commissioner Joe Kirkwood, told us of Perez's passion to see the bridge built last year following Perez's death caused by complications following surgery.
In fact, Potter County Commissioners Court is now looking to have the City of Amarillo name the bridge after Perez in his honor.
Even though traffic is allowed on the overpass, work still needs to be completed in and around the area. Motorist are still advised to use caution.
"We're still working on the 3rd Avenue and working on some of the intersections there. That's going to take a couple more months, but at least we got the traffic up and over the railroad tracks and that really was the most important part," said Braun.