Phil Riddle

editor@weatherforddemocrat.com

Judge Mark Riley is not stumping for re-election this political season, but he is spending a lot of time in front of voters.

Riley is making a county-wide circuit explaining the details of the county’s proposed $80 million transportation bond that goes before voters in November.

“We want to make sure every voter gets a chance to look at the facts and make an honest decision for the community,” Riley said. “This is truly a community bond.”

The package presented to voters by the Parker County Commissioners Court offers construction, improvements and upgrades to roads in all four of the county’s precincts.

Riley said the North Central Texas Council of Governments has pledged $10 million to the project, pending voter approval.

A long-hoped-for loop for the western portion of the county, a similar loop in Springtown and expansion of a major traffic artery in Aledo are among the major points of the proposal.

The loop proposed for west of Weatherford would hopefully ease truck traffic in the downtown area of the city. The highway is expected to stretch from the Interstate 20 interchange near Ranger Highway to FM 51 North south of Peaster.

“We will get 200 feet of right-of-way and start with a two-lane road,” said Riley, who added he hoped it would become part of the Texas Department of Transportation system in the future. “Everything we do will comply with state a federal standards.”

In Springtown, a loop is proposed to quell traffic originating near the State Highway 199-FM 51 intersection.

If funds are approved, the loop will extend Pojo Road to State Highway 199 and on to JE Woody.

“It’s the same sort of situation there as Weatherford has near the courthouse,” Riley said. “This will help to alleviate that traffic situation.”

In addition, a study is proposed to deal with drainage and flooding issues at the SH 199-FM 51 intersection.

Aledo’s ongoing traffic issues are dealt with in the bond proposal, as well. FM 1187, where most traffic flows through Aledo, will be widened with a turn lane, already approved, but not funded by TxDOT. In addition, Precinct 4 will benefit from the widening of the Lakeshore Drive bridge in Hudson Oaks and a study to help move traffic more efficiently through Aledo from the Annettas.

In addition, Riley said the county has been donated right-of-way from Walsh Ranch and Dean Ranch, two developments near Aledo, to build a road which will follow the roadbed of the old Bankhead Highway and should ease some of the traffic burden from FM 1187.

He said traffic congestion in east Parker County makes safety an issue.

“We’re extremely limited on evacuation options,” Riley said. “This answers some issues for emergency management.”

When asked if the current economic climate lends itself to the issuing of bonds, Riley said the bond market is still a conservative investment.

“It’s one of the safest investments you can get,” he said. “There’s not too much concern there.”

The judge hopes action quickly follows anticipated voter approval.

“We want dirt turned quickly,” he said. “We don’t want to still be waiting after two years.”

For details pertaining to the bond proposal, click on www.parkercountytransportationbond.com.

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