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      TxDot moving forward with Dalhart underpass renovation

      The Texas Department of Transportation is now looking at design and environmental aspects of renovating the short Dalhart underpass.

      The Texas Transportation Commission approved to include the $8 million project into their 10 year plan. TxDot will contribute $2.5 million that comes from extra money allocated from previous projects.

      The underpass currently stands at only 13.7 feet high and located off Highway 87.

      Amarillo Truck Center's Wade Black said trucks normally are taller than 13 feet.

      "They can stand anywhere from 13.6 to 14 feet," Black said.

      TxDOT's Paul Braun said this needs to be done because of the inconvenience the short underpass poses to drivers.

      "It's a safety and mobility issue. The clearance isn't big enough for most commercial vehicles and even some recreational videos," Braun said.

      Truck drivers we spoke to said the underpass is a huge problem because most trucks will not fit, and requires truck drivers to drive longer routes around Dalhart to go through the town.

      Black also said some hazardous issues include "ruining the cargo or the trailer itself."

      Dalhart has been trying to get this project going for a while, and City Manager James Stroud has commented on the issue before saying "it has been a whole ordeal dealing with two railroads."

      Braun said they will extend the road and allow the underpass to be extended to a little more than 15 feet.

      "It's a quick fix to a big problem," Braun said.

      Black said this renovation was also long overdue.

      "It's a good investment TxDOT is doing with modernizing that part of the highway," Black said.

      Braun says they are aiming to start construction late August 2015. He said they would like to start thinking about how to extend the top of the underpass as well to make the clearance even larger, but that is for future plans.