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TxDOT alters SH130 plans

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

A small change in organization at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) could have big consequences for Caldwell County residents.
TxDOT”s San Antonio area representative Frank Holzmann announced to the Caldwell County Commissioners on Monday morning that supervision over Segments 5 and 6 of the State Highway 13

0 construction has been transferred from the Austin to San Antonio District office. Segments 5 and 6 are the portions of the privately-funded toll road that will run through Caldwell County.
“We don”t expect for this change to have any affect on the construction of SH130,” Holzmann told the Commissioners on Monday. “We plan to honor all of the agreements that exist so far as we move forward.”
However, County Judge H.T. Wright noted that Holzmann gave the Court some information that conflicts directly with what he had been told in the past.
“I have been told that acquisition of right of way had already begun,” Wright said. “Now, you”re telling us that it”s not going to start until later this year.”
Wright expressed frustration at the change, because all negotiations for the project so far have gone through the Austin office.
“I would have hoped that if TxDOT was going to change the area that we are going to be included in, they would have at least discussed it with us,” he said. “I would think that we would have a chance to express our views on it.”
Giving a brief update of the construction project, Holzmann said that TxDOT had found the funding for Segments 5 and 6 and would acquire right of way in Caldwell County this spring and summer. He estimated that construction would begin in early 2008 and be complete by 2012. The timeline he noted is significantly different than the timeline quoted by Austin representatives in the past.
In other business, the Commissioners discussed the possibility of opening the Courthouse on Saturday, March 24 for an educational program hosted by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.
The program, which was suggested by Gene Galbraith, a contractor charged with maintaining the Courthouse clock, was met with some resistance by the Judge and some Commissioners because it will include a tour of the clock tower, which is normally not accessible to the public.
“I”m concerned that those ladders are straight up, and there are some liability issues there,” Wright said.
Galbraith suggested that each tour participant would sign a waiver of liability, holding the County harmless in the event of any injury, but the Court did not seem satisfied.
“I”d like to look into the possibility of the Association providing liability insurance,” said Commissioner Tom Bonn. “Is that something that might be able to happen?”
Galbraith said he would look into an insurance policy and return to the Court with a report in the near future.
In brief news:
The Commissioners approved declaring the week of Jan. 14 – 20 “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Week in Caldwell County. The Proclamation was scheduled for an earlier meeting that was cancelled because of inclement weather.
They also designated February 2007 “Black History Month,” and designated Jan. 28, 2007 as a date to honor the 100th birthday of retired schoolteacher Lonie Brite.
The panel discussed the distribution and placement of new vehicles that were bought for the Caldwell County Constables. In the 2007 Fiscal Year Budget, each Constable”s office was scheduled to receive one new car.
Several members were appointed to the Caldwell County Historical Commission.
The County paid bills in the amount of $137,169.44.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.

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