TxDOT paying officers patrolling traffic during construction

Officers directing traffic on Sunland Park

The Texas Department of Transportation is footing the bill for the officers now patrolling high traffic areas during construction.

Officers were stationed at Mesa Street to direct traffic while I-10 was closed between Sunland Park and Executive Center.

TxDOT said they will be there for a week.

TxDOT district engineer Bob Bielek said they’ve made the move before.

“We’ve actually had the Police Department before when we closed I-10 for the electric company’s distribution lines and the transmission lines. We had police on major intersections,” Bielek said.

Bielek said the officers on positioned on Mesa Street because a lot of carsbreak down and accidents happen here.

“Having police out there helps us. They came up with the idea of closing the right lane on Mesa, so trucks could make the turn from Mesa to Executive Center,” Bielek said.

The officers were placed at certain intersections.

“Essentially, it’s at all of the signalized intersections and the idea being that they can get into the timing if that’s necessary and adjusting the (traffic light) timing. When the green time doesn’t work then they can get out there and move traffic manually,” Bielek said.

Officers who will be patrolling the intersections overnight will be paid an average of $50 an hour,” Bielek said.

With the 25 officers on the job for eight hours, the total cost for the week roughly amounts to $66,000.

And even in the overnight hours when there isn’t much traffic, Bielek said the officers are necessary.

“Yeah, it’s because again, you have traffic where it doesn’t normally go. You have a lot of drivers, you have a lot of on road drivers who haven’t been through El Paso before, who haven’t driven on Mesa before. It’s harder to see the detour signs at night. So it makes a lot of sense to have them out there at night,” Bielek said.

The I-10 closure will be in effect the rest of the week from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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