By CHRIS AGEE
The Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, currently under construction between Mineral Wells and Weatherford, will give locals another way to access Interstate 20 when it is completed next year.
As the construction process continues, Parker County Judge Mark Riley is planning to address a crowd later this month to issue a progress report on the project.
As part of the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce's quarterly Power of Business Luncheon Feb. 26, Riley and colleagues will speak about the highway's impact on the local economy and how the project will reduce traffic congestion.
Those interested in attending the luncheon can purchase tickets online at mineralwellstx.com or by calling (940) 325-2557.
Prior to the luncheon, Riley will take part in the ceremonial opening of Phase 2 of the highway's construction.
The ribbon-cutting, set for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., will take place just north of the intersection of the new highway and U.S. 180 and will signify the next phase of the project – from Farm-to-Market Road 920 to U.S. 180 – and the Texas Department of Transportation's completion of the intersection.
The highway's first phase included a stretch between FM 920 and FM 51 and opened more than a year ago.
Riley said the project is continuing at a steady pace.
"Through partnerships we have been able to achieve our goals and we continue to complete the projects of our bond program in a timely manner and under budget," he said.
He expressed gratitude toward Parker County residents who voted in favor of the 2008 Transportation Bond Program that funds the highway project.
"I know road construction can be tough to deal with and trying on our patience, but the people of Parker County have handled it well," he added.
When complete, the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway will create a connection between FM 51 and U.S. 180 west of Weatherford.
Anyone interested in learning more about the transportation bond program can do so online by visiting parkercountytransportationbond.com.