05 27 2015

Decision Tabled On Trucks’ Use Of Road

By Terry Britt
Staff Writer
Van Zandt County Commissioners have delayed a decision on whether to close a county road to tractor-trailers and rock trucks.
Van Zandt County Road 3805, northwest of Wills Point, is the road Trinity Materials wants open to trucks going between U.S. Highway 80 and a proposed rock crushing facility on Kaufman County Road 346.
At a public hearing during Tuesday’s commissioners’ court meeting, Matthew Hallmark, director of construction and environmental for Trinity Materials, asked the court for more time before it renders a decision on possibly closing the road to truck traffic.
“We would like the county to consider tabling a motion on this matter to give us the opportunity to fully assess the options we have and look at rebuilding that road to make it suitable for trucks,” Hallmark stated.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney’s motion to do just that came about 45 minutes later after more public comments and questions, and the court unanimously approved a delay on the matter until its scheduled meeting on May 14.
As for rebuilding and improving VZCR 3805, Hallmark said it would require an engineering study to determine the exact work needed and the cost.
Hallmark indicated the company would at least be willing to work out a cost share agreement with the county, if not completely cover the cost of the road improvement.
However, Precinct 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr. estimated the cost to widen and strengthen the road, and improve drainage, could run about $500,000. Precinct 1 Commissioner Brandon Brown said he thought it would go closer to $1 million.
Joe Rice, Jr. and Joe Rice III, both residents of the area in question, restated their opposition to truck traffic on the road.
The elder Mr. Rice said he was concerned for the estimated 60 families he said lived on VZCR 3805.
Rice III questioned the value to the county of spending any money to improve the road for truck use.
“There are only 17 acres of that rock quarry site that are in Van Zandt County, and they want to use a road 5 1/2 miles out (from U.S. 80),” he said.
“To use that road for rock trucks is going to cost more than $500,000…to involve Van Zandt County on this doesn’t make any sense to me,” Rice III added.
Andrew Hudanish with Union Pacific Railroad stated his company “had safety concerns” with large trucks using VZCR 3805 due to insufficient clearance space between the painted stop bar at the intersection with U.S. 80 and the Union Pacific railroad tracks.
Wayne Fleming, representing the Texas Department of Transportation, provided a written statement from his supervisor echoing the railroad company’s safety concerns.
In other matters on Tuesday’s agenda, the court took the following action:
Approved a resolution authorizing a three-party loan agreement among the Van Zandt County Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation, Pope John Paul XXIII High School and Comerica Bank, and authorizing a promissory note and other matters in connection with the agreement.
Approved a proclamation designating the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Van Zandt County. Carla Ward with East Texas Crisis Center was present to receive the signed proclamation.
Approved a bond for Vania Riley, deputy district clerk.
Approved payment to Phone Billing Examiners for $627.52 representing one-half of their audit findings involving Verizon and Touchtone.
Awarded the sale of surplus office items to the highest bidder for each item.
Approved a set of budget amendments.
Approved the deputation, oath and bond for sheriff’s office reserves Bill Farley and Bruce Lehowicz, and entered those items into the minutes of the court.
Approved an emergency budget increase to the county jail revenue line for $3,247.60, from proceeds from the auction of a 2001 Ford pickup and miscellaneous items, and increased the expenditure line for uniform expense by the same amount.

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