From Staff Reports
The Athens Review
As a result of months of talks with both of the Cedar Creek Lake state representatives, the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in setting up a meeting on February 27 with Texas Department of Transportation representatives, state representatives Jim Pitts (Dist. 10) and Lance Gooden (Dist. 4) and a delegation of local leaders.
The subject of the ongoing talks and the meeting in Representative Pitts’ Capitol office was the expansion/improvement of Texas State Highway 334 between Gun Barrel City and Seven Points. The end result of the meeting was promising and positive, with TxDOT making a commitment to spend approximately $2 million to conduct the Environmental Impact Statement in 2014.
The delegation of local leaders that traveled to Austin for Wednesday’s meeting included Jo Ann Hanstrom, president of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce; Scott Confer, executive director of the Mabank Economic Development Corporation and CCLACC board member; Marty Mullins, board chair CCLACC; and Scott Six, Star Lite Custom Homes and member of the Gun Barrel City CCLACC Chapter Committee.
Also in the delegation were Kevin Pollock, Mayor Seven Points; Paul Eaton, Mayor Gun Barrel City; and Dennis Baade, City Council Gun Barrel City. Six is a longtime, active member and former board vice chair of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
Letters of support and reports from various entities in the cities and Henderson County were secured by Hanstrom and presented to TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson and Deputy Executive Director John Barton, along with an oral presentation by the delegation’s spokesperson, Six.
Six pointed out the growth that the Cedar Creek Lake community has enjoyed since the existing bridges were constructed in the early 1960s and noted the mutual impact of travel between the two communities. He emphasized the known danger, loss of business and other problems when the two-lane bridges are closed for accidents or repair.
It was made clear by the TxDOT representatives that the rebuild would be a $40 million to $50 million project. There’s much work to be done between all of the entities involved, officials said, and a new bridge is years in the future, but the mood of the delegation was extremely positive.
“We’re very encouraged by the news that the EIS funds have been committed and we believe we’re in a position now to look forward to being put on the TxDOT schedule for our requested bridge expansion project,” Six said. “This is good news and what we were hoping for.”
CCLACC President Hanstrom said, “I want to thank the members of our local delegation for devoting the time to travel to Austin for the meeting and I’m especially appreciative of Representatives Pitts and Gooden and the TxDOT representatives for recognizing our need and responding in such a swift and positive way.”
She went on to say that everyone who was asked for support, including the chiefs of police of Gun Barrel City and Seven Points, played a role in the positive outcome of the meeting.