TEXAS CITY — Texas City’s project to beautify one of its thoroughfares is taking another step along a seven-block stretch of Palmer Highway.
Palmer Highway, part of FM 1764, is a state highway, so the work is a Texas Department of Transportation project, said Doug Kneupper, Texas City’s city engineer.
But while it is a state project, it is one the city has had a hand in and helped bring about.
The city first started making improvements to FM 1764 more than 10 years ago with the installation of the longhorn sculptures where the highway meets Interstate 45. In 2008, landscaping was installed around statues, Kneupper said.
“And then our plan is to keep progressing into the city,” he said.
In 2009, the city applied to a transportation enhancement program for state and federal funds to pay for the project on Palmer Highway between 14th and 21st streets, Kneupper said.
It’s funding for enhancements like landscaping, bike paths and other similar projects, he said.
The work includes installing raised medians with landscaping as well as installing new streetlights along the seven-block stretch of Palmer Highway. The project also includes the installation of landscaping at Century Boulevard and Emmett F. Lowry Expressway.
The entire project costs about $704,000, with state and federal funds covering 80 percent of the cost and the city footing 20 percent.
“We get tremendous bang for the buck,” Kneupper said.
Work began in October but had to be stopped. Work started again in April. The entire project should wrap up by the end of August, Kneupper said.
Also, the traffic light on Palmer Highway in front of the city’s Moore Memorial Public Library may be coming down.
The light was put in place when the high school was across the street from the football stadium and students used the crosswalk to cross the busy street, Kneupper said.
But now that the new high school is also on the south side of the road, the intersection is not used much, so the state is conducting a study to decide whether the traffic light is needed, he said.
Kneupper cautioned that pedestrians still have the right of way and drivers should be prepared to stop.
Once the work along Palmer Highway is complete, it will match up nicely with the work the city was able to do on the road from 14th Street to Bay Street, thanks largely through county bond funds, Kneupper said.
The work is all part of the effort to improve the city’s image, he said.
“Away from Texas City people think of it as an industrial community and that’s it,” he said. “So it’s the beautification efforts that we hope will get people to change their mind about Texas City and put in a different light.”