Orange prepares for heavy construction traffic
Last updated 2/21/2023 at 5:47pm
The Orange City Council last week took steps to regulate the use of heavy commercial trucks traveling for the construction of the $8.5 billion ChevronPhillips Golden Triangle Polymers plant.
Part of the action was to ask the state to allow city of Orange police, along with police in other Orange County cities to enforce the weight limits of commercial motor vehicles. City Manager Mike Kunst said in a memo the resolution from the council is the first step in getting the state to approve the local enforcement.
He said if the state approves local enforcement, the city will need to train one or more officers and get the needed equipment. The city can budget for training and equipment in the 2023-24 budget, he said.
ChevronPhillips late last year made the official announcement that the new Gulf Coast plant would be in Orange. The announcement was not a surprise as more than a thousand acres had already been cleared with infrastructure like drainage and electrical service being done. The site is along State Highway 87 South between Foreman Road and FM 1006, known as Chemical Row.
City Planning Director Kelvin Knauf and Public Works Director Adam Jack worked on plans to update city thoroughfares for heavy commercial truck traffic. The council approved the resolution for the named truck routes on the first reading. A second reading will be required before the changes become an ordinance. The council's next regularly scheduled meeting on February 28 has been canceled so council and staff may attend Golden Triangle Days at the Texas Legislature in Austin.
The city is expanding the number of truck routes to accommodate the expected increase in the trucks carrying construction materials and prefabricated pieces for the new plant. Trucks with a load of one ton or more will be required to travel only on the designated routes.
Those routes will be any state or federal highway or farm road within the city limits, including Interstate 10. Those roadways in the city include 16th Street (State Highway 87), Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (FM 3247), Meeks Drive (FM 1130), Strickland Drive, Simmons Drive, and FM 105.
Other heavy truck routes will be Park Avenue from 16th Street to Simmons Drive, which is Business Loop 90. Also Division Avenue in downtown from Seventh to Eighth streets, plus Masonic Drive from Edgar Brown Drive (Highway 87) to 37th Street. Then the route will include 37th Street to from Masonic Drive to Tulane Road, and on Tulane Road from 37th Street to MLK Jr. Drive. Another route, though short, will be the block south of Green Avenue known as Navy Street that runs by the old World War II-era shipyard. That route will include Front Street between Navy Street and Third Street.
Orange is the first city in the county to begin action to control and enforce the projected heavy equipment traffic for the new plant.