Council OKs railroad overpass


Lockhart”s city council approved plans for an overpass on Highway 183 on Tuesday evening.

The proposal, built as a collaborative effort between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), city staff members and local business owners, allows for an overpass and an access road near the Union Pacific railroad track north of the Lockhart square.

“This project

is committed,” said assistant city manager Vance Rodgers. “But the design is not yet completed.”

Under the approved proposal, an overpass will be built over the Union Pacific railroad track with an adjoining frontage road, which will run from Flores Street to Cemetery Street. The frontage road will run one way (north-to-south) and will allow access to the businesses on the west side of Highway 183 and on Cemetery Street.

“[My business] will have two problems with this overpass,” said Rick Schmidt, owner of Kreuz”s Market. “The first is that my entrance is 200-300 feet from the frontage road, which means that my customers might not recognize what the building is until they get to the overpass. We hope that they”ll turn around, but we don”t know. The second is that there will be people who don”t want to [take the long way around the overpass] and will use our parking lot as a cut-through.”

Schmidt said the approved proposal will solve the problem of drivers using his property as a shortcut, but will not keep him from missing business.

Schmidt”s problem is compounded by the fact that TxDOT funding does not allow for signs within the TxDOT right-of-way.

“We need to look into a different type of signage for something like this,” Rodgers said. “That”s just another issue that needs to be addressed, and I don”t know that TxDOT is not going to try to facilitate that.”

Rodgers indicated that, in addition to the overpass, TxDOT has proposed improvements to Flores Street and Cemetery Street because of the added traffic the overpass will cause.

Rodgers said few businesses located south of the railroad track, if any, will be affected by the overpass. Still, despite the council”s approval, plans for the overpass are still not firm.

“I can”t promise what will happen when it”s sent to Austin,” Rodgers said.

The project, which will take place under the Capitol Area Rural Transportation Organization (CARTPO), has been approved by partner-city Bastrop. As the proposal gains support from other CARTPO municipalities, its likelihood will increase.

In other business, the council honored Dr. Arjun Mohandus for his contributions to the City of Lockhart and in particular, the Lockhart Police Department.

According to Lockhart Chief of Police Frank Coggins, Mohandus performed stress tests on many of the Department”s officers, and those tests have proved valuable to the officers involved.

City Manager Clovia English suggested the sale or donation of several computers to the Caldwell County Christian Ministries (CCCM).

“We purchased [the computers] from LISD for parts,” English said. “The units are very old.”

Her original proposal recommended that the city sell the computers to CCCM for $10 each.

“We spent taxpayer money to purchase them and we[suggested selling them] just to get a little back,” English said.

Ultimately, the council decided to donate the computers to CCCM free of charge, based partly on the fact that the organization applied to the city earlier in the year for financial support.

In brief council news:

The council approved the sale of several properties for overdue taxes. The properties, which the council is currently responsible for maintaining, will return to private responsibility after sale. This means that the city will no longer be responsible for mowing, landscape maintenance or payment of taxes on the subject properties.

Councilmembers appointed several people to a variety of committee seats.


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