Weatherford Democrat

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April 15, 2014

County wins grant, approves road plan

By JUDY SHERIDAN

New funding to improve county roads and a new plan to rank them according to their need for repair moved forward hand-in-hand at Monday’s Parker County Commissioners’ Court meeting.

Commissioners authorized engineering firm Freese and Nichols to prepare a Five-Year County Road Improvement Plan, even as they learned the county will receive a state grant of $1.4 million targeting road improvements.

“We wanted to look at all the roads for the county as a whole and make sure we’re addressing them,” Judge Mark Riley said. “It just so happens that this TxDOT grant came along, and so some of this work in combo will certainly benefit that grant. The timing just happened to work right.” 

The $1.4 million TxDOT award is related to the county creating one or more County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones. 

It is part of the $225 million that Legislators set aside this fiscal year for counties whose roads have been damaged by oil and gas production traffic. 

County officials hired a law firm to help them secure the award. To accept it, they must now come up with a 20 percent match, about $280,000. 

To apply for the funding, counties had to establish CETRZs, geographic areas that surround planned transportation projects and divert the new property taxes generated inside them to the projects.

The TxDOT grant funds and CETRZ funds can also be used for other county transportation projects, but they cannot be transferred to the general fund for other purposes. 

Chris Bosco, of Freese and Nichols, named 11 county roads as candidates in an earlier presentation to commissioners, listing projects on East Bankhead Highway, Advance Road, Knob Road, Thompson Road and White Settlement Road as the top five on a prioritized project list.   

The improvements would consist of 2 inches of asphalt along the length of the roads and 8 inches of flex base on base failure areas.

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