Bridge-building about to begin

Relief is in sight for beleaguered motorists who get stuck in traffic waiting for slow-moving trains to pass.

State transportation officials and Amarillo officials have agreed on a deal that will result in construction of a new bridge near the infamous Third and Grand intersection in east Amarillo. That’s where the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad has tracks carrying trains that creep through town at a snail’s pace. The result has been seemingly interminable waits for motorists.

The bridge will cost about $9.1 million. Federal economic stimulus money has allowed the city and the state to expedite the project. The rest of the money will come from a variety of state and local sources. City Manager Alan Taylor has described the economic stimulus cash coming to Amarillo from the Obama administration as “amazing.” Given this region’s political leanings — which do not favor President Obama’s vision of how to restore economic prosperity — that term might be most apt.

It’s time to get this job done.

East Amarillo residents have long complained that the city has allowed this problem to languish for too long. It’s a big job, to be sure.

But as the city and the state iron out the details of this project, it gives residents hope that help is on the way.