By Judy Sheridan
The kick-off point for the Eastern Loop around Weatherford — an interchange at I-20 and Center Point Road — took a big step forward last month when the North Central Texas Council of Governments included the project’s bridge and frontage roads in its Transportation Improvement Program.
“It provides us official access to funding to hopefully complete the interchange,” County Judge Mark Riley said. “To access state and federal money, a project has to be in the TIP.”
The $22 million project includes a bridge, entrance ramps and the completion of the eastbound service road from Center Point Road to Lake Shore Drive, Riley said, as well as the westbound access road from Center Point to Bankhead Highway on the intersection’s north side. The project’s final piece is building the eastbound access road from Love’s Travel Stop to Center Point.
“We’re looking at phasing it,” the judge said, cautioning that the plans are preliminary. “We would do the bridge for about $10 million and the eastbound service road from Center Point to Lake Shore for about $7 million. Engineers believe that’s the best way to phase it.”
When the Regional Transportation Council, where Riley serves as secretary, approves a TIP, it locks in federal and state funds for the project, Riley said, in this case $10 million for the first phase. The county, along with the cities of Weatherford and Hudson Oaks, will provide the $7 million local contribution.
“We have been working for some months on funding partnerships for the interchange with the Eastern Loop, a lot of meetings, a lot of hours,” Riley said in a recent meeting, announcing the project’s inclusion in the TIP, while noting the selective use of federal funds during the construction of the 2008 transportation bond projects.
“The federal funding we didn’t spend on our projects to date — with the work TxDOT did and all the things we’ve done — we’ve been able to move money around and reserve some of that money that can only be spent in certain places, anyway. It is now in the regional plan, so we’re able to proceed with what we authorize, what Freese and Nichols has been doing preliminary work on.
“As that becomes available, that will make a huge impact, and we’ll continue to work with TxDOT, Hudson Oaks and Weatherford in consolidating the rest of the funding,” he said.
By the time the bond projects are complete and the new interchange is built, Riley said, the region will have accessed $25 million in state and federal funds.
The judge said he is often asked whether Parker County will initiate another bond program, and the answer is no.
“Parker County is not doing a bond election again,” he said. “We will use our resources — plus whatever I can get from partnerships, which include the state and region.”
In contrast with the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, or Western Loop around Weatherford, which began construction at FM Road 51 north of Weatherford and progressed south, the Eastern Loop will start with the I-20 interchange — opening the interstate up for development — and head north.
Freese and Nichols has developed a preliminary schematic of the loop’s route, according to bond project updates, and is analyzing it with respect to traffic projections from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Engineers will present the proposed route to the court in the next few months, Riley said.
By Judy Sheridan
- Aledo ExtrA
SPRINGTOWN – After finding that a breaker manufactured by a company with a history of issues contributed to a house fire Friday, Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott is urging Parker County residents with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers to call an electrician and get them checked for safety.
Candidates have filed for city, school board elections
Filings for May 10 city and school board elections are now complete. A summary follows:
On the Aledo ISD school board incumbents David Davis, in Place 6, and Hoyt Harris, in Place 7, have both filed for re-election, each drawing one or more opponents. Farida Goderya has filed for Place 6, opposite Davis, and Riley Morrison and Debra Rogers have filed for Place 7, opposite Harris.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce will welcome retired USAF SMSGT Vernon M. Anderson, Jr., senior technical instructor, Bell Helicopter, Integrated Operations Engineering Support Technical Training Department, as the key note speaker for the March 12 luncheon.
The Sunny Side
WILLOW PARK – Peppered with anecdotes from his stellar baseball career, former Texas Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg gave witness to his Christian faith and told how it changed his life before a crowd of about 200 at the recent annual Trinity Christian Academy dinner and fundraiser.
Aledo ISD approves suicide prevention program
The Aledo School Board approved the LifeLines Suicide Prevention Program in February, lining up with a recommendation from the Student Health Advisory Council, which has spent a year reviewing choices.
Aledo ISD could save up to $2 million
Expecting to save close to $2 million, Aledo ISD trustees recently voted to let district staff pull the trigger on a bank-qualified refunding of some of the district’s outstanding bonds once market conditions are optimum.
Don't feed the deer!
HUDSON OAKS — The city council recently passed an ordinance banning the feeding of deer.
Parker County Sheriff's Report Feb. 27-March 2
Burglary of a vehicle
Deputies were dispatched to the 300 block of James Street in Aledo shortly after 6 p.m. regarding the burglary of a vehicle.
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?
Considering our winter temperatures this year, that’s a good question. When it comes to a successful vegetable garden, timing is everything. The goal in Texas is to have most of your vegetable crops mature before the temperatures soar in mid-summer.
EXTENSION NEWS: Getting more zzzs could help you lose some lbs.
We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping. Sleep is important for learning and memory. Sleep also helps our immune system to resist illness and disease, increases response times in emergencies, improves our mood and feelings of wellness and gives us the energy we need to be more active and alert.
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