Zilkha and IP to get new lanes on access road

Published 1:12pm Thursday, November 22, 2012

After the Dallas County Commission requested a totally separate access road for the Zilkha Biomass plant, formerly the plant for Dixie Pellets, the commission announced an alternative plan is now in place.

Originally, International Paper, Zilkha Biomass and the commission had concerns that if both industries shared the access road that runs to County Road 78, the congestion of traffic would be detrimental to the industries. A new plan in place will add two additional lanes onto the current access road specifically allocated to Zilkha.

“We would have much rather had a totally separate, dedicated road for Zilkha but that road estimate came in at something over $2.5 million,” Kim Ballard, Dallas County Probate Judge said. “We were totally dependant upon the state Road and Bridge Access Fund to fund this road except for the local match.”

But Ballard said the alternative plan of an additional two lanes seems very workable and the plan “got the blessings of both International Paper and Zilkha, who were present at the meeting.”

The bidding process for the new lanes is underway and Ballard estimates this project, depending on the bid, should cost somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000. The county was awarded $600,000 for the project and if the cost exceeds that, Ballard said local participation in the project will be required.

“I’ve got to work out a [construction] schedule so that it doesn’t interfere with IP traffic anymore than we can help,” he said. “There is still going to be some detouring and cones and congestion and machines out there doing the work, … we are hoping it will be less than 30 days to complete the road.”

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