Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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July 2, 2014

County passes resolution for Murchison bridge

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court approved a resolution on Tuesday to identify offset matching funds for the Cardinal Drive bridge replacement in Murchison.

Precinct 3 County Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said the City of Murchison wants to get the bridge rebuilt, but doesn’t have the funds to do it.

The city contacted the Texas Department of Transportation for help, via a matching grant. Lawrence said money his precinct spent working on other bridges can count toward the 20-percent match required for the grant, about $13,425. No additional money will come from the county budget.

Eric Fisher, of the advance planning department at Texas Department of Transportation Tyler District, said offset matching funds are commonly used in projects involving small towns and communities across the state. Fisher said the single-span bridge will be replaced by a multiple-span box culvert, and will match another one not far downstream.

“It makes a lot of logical sense, if you have a culvert downstream of similar size, to have the same kind upstream,” Fisher said.

Fisher said TxDOT plans to open bids in March of 2015, and get the work started next summer.

On another agenda item, Commissioners Court took no action on an application by Oncor Electric to cross right-of-way on five Henderson County roads. Oncor area manager Tom Trimble said the project calls for replacing wooden H- frame structures with concrete to strengthen the infrastructure on which the cables are strung that connect power in the area.

“We’re going from the Forest Grove sub to the Athens substation, which is on the north side of town, close to the loop,” Trimble said.

The new H-frames will be placed on the same path of the wooden ones, Trimble said.

Trimble said Oncor would clean up the work area after the project is completed. Four of the crossings will be in Precinct 1 and one in Precinct 3.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Scotty Thomas said he had no opposition to the plan. Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said he had not received information concerning the right-of-way crossing prior to the meeting, and would not vote for it until he had a chance to study it further. The commissioners decided to re-visit the request at a later date.

Commissioners also voted to pay regular bills in the amount of $278,135.74.

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