Local government

A $5.36 million extension of one of south Temple’s east-west connections has now received the green light to move forward.

After more than two years of design work on the project, the Temple City Council unanimously approved the approximately half-mile extension of Blackland Road. Officials have worked on designing and getting the needed land rights for the road since the project was approved in November 2019.

City officials expect the construction of the new road to take up to 11 month after the notice to proceed is issued.

City Engineer Richard Wilson said the extension will connect Old Highway 95, just south of its current intersection with Blackland Road, to State Highway 95 roughly 3,000 feet east.

“The Blackland Road extension will complete the link from State Highway 95 to South 31st Street providing an alternate to Loop 363 and FM 93,” Wilson said. “Growth along the Blackland Road corridor continues with development of the Blackland Ranch subdivision, the Hillside subdivision, the Prairie Ridge subdivision and a future Temple Independent School District middle school and elementary school campus.”

Temple-based Emerson Construction Co. won the bid at $5.36 million, beating out four other bids that ranged up to $5.99 million for the same work. The original estimated cost for the project was $6.1 million.

The project’s bid includes construction on the roadway as well as drainage and water line improvements.

The new road will go in between two tracts voluntarily annexed into the city in 2019 that totaled about 137 acres.

The northern tract is expected to accommodate a planned elementary school campus for Temple ISD, with a middle school addition to come later. The southern tract is part of a planned single family home neighborhood.

Bobby Ott, superintendent of Temple ISD, said working together with the city to make sure needed infrastructure was in place for new facilities was important.

“The best way for any school district to plan for growth is to work in concert with their city leadership,” Ott said. “We are truly blessed in Temple to have such a great partnership between Temple ISD and the city of Temple. The community gains confidence when they know their city and school system work together for the betterment of our community.”