By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

Back in the summer of 2019, when I was still working in Dallas, I well remember the night I drove down South Interstate 45 for home and found the whole exit towards Corsicana completely rerouted.

Road construction is a part of life, and I accept that. What I wasn’t expecting was how long that stretch of road would remain under construction. Weeks turned from months to two years, and every day I could feel my body tense up as I drove down that narrow corridor to get back into town. I was not a fan of those concrete barriers, and the thought of accidentally scraping that stretch of wall with my car was pretty high on things I least wanted to do.

Could I have taken one of the other routes to have gotten into Corsicana? Absolutely. The point, however, is I live on the side of town that would be easiest and shortest path by taking that exit, and after the long Dallas drive, I often don’t feel like taking “the scenic route.” But that exit was often a dreaded last step for home.

Imagine my surprise this past Monday when I had to drive to Ennis for a morning appointment. I’m never the most awake person in the morning, so the changes initially didn’t register, other than something felt different. My energy level perked up upon realizing I was on the other side of the road to make my exit on North Interstate 45.

The whole tone for the rest of my day shifted. Could I actually be looking forward to going home? As the clock ticked closer to my return, my thoughts wandered to what the return drive would be like. As I passed Frontage Road and made my exit, I was pleasantly surprised.

Well, mostly.

The wall is gone! Finally! They still have a selection of orange construction barrels up, but the extra road space became immediately apparent. I’ll be glad when the construction crews take that final step and remove those last barrels, because from a driving standpoint, I’m completely over that entire section, and I’m looking forward to the better experience. The the length of time involved, it is a better experience.

I know streets and roads are always a contentious subject when it comes to “Life in ‘The Can’.” A few years ago at my former publication, I tried to tackle the subject, and it’s a sensitive one. I get it. I live here as well, and I understand conditions change between city, county, and state roads. While I personally can’t provide fixes, I can give a little background and resources.

There’s a lot of factors that go into our roads ranging from our county’s local soil quality (sulfate, clay, and loam – Great for growing plants, but requires regular work to keep roadways stable and in good condition) to the types of materials they use (more high quality means more expensive, and vice-versa). Those elements affect some of the decisions being made, and why some areas last longer than others.

There’s more to it, of course, but I think people having a better level of general understanding is important. There is a section of the City of Corsicana website that shows what has actually been worked on each year, so residents can personally check on progress for any given year (up to 2016).

It’s also important to know people can take steps to affect change and call in some of these rough spots. I don’t think any one service person has the time or resources to drive up and down every single street to find improvement spots, but residents can bring these pot holes and repair areas to the attention of the city’s service center by calling 903-654-4884. The department is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

My personal column took an unplanned shift for today. Candidly, I’m just thrilled the North/South Interstate 45 exit out/in to town is finally being resolved, but I know the subject opens up a lot of greater discussion. I thought I’d add some “quick reference” guidance in here for good measure. I may add a few more guides in the future if things like this help people better understand what’s going on around town.

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