Reopening of Bell and Hollywood Intersection to Ease Traffic

Casey Stavenhagen, Staff Writer

Following months of construction on the intersection of Hollywood and Bell preventing entrance to the west campus parking lot through Bell, this intersection has been opened back to a more open state.

This construction project is intended to make “the loop” a continuous road around Amarillo with no stops. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) had been busy at work with constructing an overpass at all the intersections on the road, and the one located at Hollywood and Bell impacted Randall students the most, as detours or traffic delays became a normal part of commuting to school. Since the beginning of the new school semester, TxDOT opened the intersection at Bell and Hollywood, greatly improving traffic, but leaving some wondering if more construction issues are to be expected.

There will be additional closures when the contractor works on certain elements of the bridge,” Public Information Officer of the Amarillo District for TxDOT, Sonja Gross said. “All efforts will be made to limit these closures around the start and end of the school day to avoid the school ‘rush’ hour, but the closures will likely be in place during lunch.”

A large difference between the area before and after the opening of the intersection is that it is now an active construction site. Gross advised Randall students driving through the area to always use caution in this zone and to watch their speed. The zone will remain under construction until the completion of the overpass.

“A hard date hasn’t yet been provided, but the contractor’s schedule indicates the bridge should be complete by the end of May 2018,” Gross said. “The roadway sections around the bridge will not be complete until this September. That portion of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of November this year.”

Beyond the construction at this intersection, there is more planned around the city, as can be seen in the graphic attached.Notably, there is more construction along Hollywood, and the intersection of Hollywood and Coulter is planned to turn into an overpass on Hollywood.

“The next phase of construction is already underway at I-27 and Hollywood,” Gross said. “This project will include new bridges over Hollywood, a bridge that takes Hollywood over Coulter Street and some improvements in the intersection of the I-27 frontage roads and Hollywood.”

All these construction projects can possibly cause traffic delays, but Gross said that there should be no changes in traffic flow in the Bell and Hollywood area.  Any area of construction that could cause issues, TxDOT will publicize beforehand allowing communication and clarity between them and the drivers.

“We will provide at least a week notice prior to these times, mainly through our weekly Lane Closures Report distributed by my office and through our Twitter page @TxDOTAmarillo,” Gross said. “ We do our best to keep in regular communication with school officials when disruptions to travel are anticipated.”