Houses demolished for FM 455 four-lane urban highway project
Structures near third street and Chapman Drive are being demolished this week for the widening of FM 455, just east of Sanger High School to Bolivar. The project includes the reconstruction and widening of FM 455 from west of FM 2450 to east of Marion Road, a distance of 5.53 miles, in the City of Sanger. Improvements will involve the expansion from a two-lane rural highway to a four-lane urban highway (four through lanes with a center two-way left turn lane [CTWLTL]). Expansion would consist of one 12-foot wide travel lane and one 14-foot wide outside shared‑use lane with 1.5-foot outside curb offsets in each direction with a 17-foot wide CTWLTL. About half of the negotiations with owners were wrapped up in December for the properties and easements, along the path. Several property owners are still negotiating with Tx-DOT. Some pipe and barbed wire fences have already been cleared and new fences constructed. Most noticeably, the moving of the old State Farm Insurance building last week. And, the demolition of some homes near Third Street have the roadside area looking different. Ramie Hammonds, head of Development Services for the City of Sanger, said Tuesday she anticipates the landscape to change very soon as more structures are cleared on the south side of Chapman Drive, through Sanger. The City just received an updated schematic map from Tx-DOT. Hammonds said not much has changed on the east side of I-35, but mostly on the West side. D&L Farm and Home moved from the building at Fifth and 455. And, the Gillum Insurance building, across the street is vacated now. Gillum moved right next to Lone Oak Cafe. Those were the first signs of the widening of 455 becoming a reality and not just a proposal. Sanger Insurance will move to the Carson’s Coffee location. The insurance company will be relocated next to S&J Pharmacy, in the future. The current Sanger Insurance building and old Sanger Courier office will be swept up in the construction. The only four properties along FM 455 that haven’t received offers from Tx-DOT are the four business that will be caught up in, both, the 455 widening and I-35 expansion. The three gas station/convenient store owners of (Snap Shop, Shell, Chevron) and Super Save are still waiting. “I-35 and 455, at the bridge will be coordinated together at the same time,” said Hammonds. All four businesses will be greatly affected by both expansions. All three gas stations’ fuel pumps are in the right of way. Acquisitions for the FM 455 project should be finished by the end of 2019. Another year for engineering and planning and actual construction is expected to start in 2021. Five to eight-foot wide sidewalks will be located along the outside of both the eastbound and westbound lanes, the length of the entire 5.3 miles. The sidewalks would meet Americans with Disabilities design criteria. The existing right of way (ROW) width varies from 50 to 170 feet wide with a usual ROW width of 90 feet. The ROW width varies from 104 to 225 feet wide with a usual ROW width of 130 feet. Approximately 38.5 acres of new ROW and 2.1 acres of easements is being acquired. Acquisitions through Sanger, for the I-35 expansion on the East and West sides haven’t started yet.