Culberson County, especially the area between Van Horn and Orla in neighboring Reeves County, is becoming increasingly important to the West Texas Permian Basin energy sector but lacks state road and bridge infrastructure. Frac sand companies are opening in about 20 locations across the West Texas Permian Basin. As the drilling activity ramps up in the county, medical response and support for the hundreds of workers is forced on longer routes increasing urgent care response times by hours. This project serves an urgent need to provide access and strengthen the existing road in a way that is appropriate for the geologic conditions and to improve drainage structures as the energy sector continues to grow and move west.
The project location is approximately 30 miles from 750 feet south of Looney Spur Road to Junction with FM 3541 in Culberson County.
The project would consist of the extension of an existing rural roadway. The roadway would be a Super 2 highway with one lane in each direction and intermittent passing lanes. Roadway geometry and drainage handling would be optimized to reduce potential impacts to karst feature formations.
The proposed improvements to FM 2185 is part of a set of projects that would improve safety, reliability, and mobility throughout the energy sector. For most of 2018, the West Texas Permian Basin was home to about 45% of all active drilling permits in the state of Texas. The area is producing in excess of 3 million barrels of crude a day. As the West Texas Permian Basin region does not contain any intermodal rail terminals and has minimal air cargo activity, nearly all of its warehousing and distribution-related traffic is to and from warehouses and distribution centers. Based on the TxDOT Statewide Travel Demand Model and traffic on adjacent roadway corridors, FM 2185 traffic demand is expected to increase over 300% by the opening year from the existing condition and truck traffic is expected to account for over 20% of the traffic.
Expected benefits include:
Culberson County acquired right-of-way for a state road in the 1960s but the roadway was not completed. This right-of-way is available today for the extension of FM 2185. Additional right-of-way will be required.
Anticipated Public Hearing in Fall 2021
TxDOT El Paso District
13301 Gateway Blvd. W.
El Paso, TX 79928-5410