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2012-04-26

Cleaning up road & bridge in court

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

John Andrade, superintendent of the Bandera County Road and Bridge Department, reported to commissioners for some housekeeping duties during the Thursday, April 12, meeting.

He revised the length of Precinct 3's county-maintained Jackson Creek Road, scaling its length back from 4.6 miles to 2.3 miles. Andrade stated that between 2000 and 2007, the length of the road was somehow doubled. "I don't know how it happened, but we want to make a correction on the current roads assessment list."

Andrade also asked the court to include Jim Haynes Drive on the list of county-maintained roads. The road, named after a deceased employee of the road and bridge department, leads from Highway 173 North to the road and bridge shop, located behind the jail and justice center. According to Andrade, the road is 1,000 feet long and 30 feet wide.

County Judge Richard Evans noted that earlier commissioners had adopted it as a county road, but it apparently failed to make the list. By a unanimous decision, the court added Jim Haynes Drive to the all-important list. As Andrade explained, "If the road's not on the list, TxDOT won't work with us."

Andrade also offered the court an update regarding the water situation, which is necessary for road rehabilitation projects. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issues permits to road and bridge departments that allow for the withdrawal of water from streams and rivers for scheduled projects.

"TCEQ wants GPS locators, straight line miles from the courthouse to each site and a basin map to show where the water is going," Andrade said. It will cost the county $111 each for 16 permits, covering a total of 62 sites. "We can piggyback some draws and have as many as four on one permit," Andrade said. He said authorization for water withdrawal could come as early as the week of Monday, April 16.

"It's interesting that we have to apply to the government to use our own water," Evans commented.

Additionally, Andrade told the court that prices for road materials are expected to increase significantly during the next fiscal year. "Martin Marietta bought out everybody and prices are creeping up," he said.

However, prices will hold until Oct. 1 for the amount already budgeted. As an example, Andrade said crushed rock base now costs $5 per ton but the county is still paying $3.75 per ton.

He also cautioned commissioners that hauling cost would increase significantly next fiscal year due to higher diesel fuel costs.

Later, Andrade was thwarted in an attempt to wheedle three new compressors out of the court via some budget line item transfers. He characterized one of the 8- to 12-year-old compressors as "dead" and two others as "on their way out." The compressors, which are on service trucks, just "won't run anymore," according to Andrade. "It would cost $1,200 to repair them and two we could sell at auction and get something for them," he said.

"We have a lot of the year left and you've just talked to us about increasing prices for material and hauling," Evans said, advising Andrade to include two compressors in his departmental budget for 2012-2013. Commissioners approved the purchase of a single compressor

"Nothing we buy in road and bridge is cheap," Andrade said. He told the court he would keep the other compressors "rolling until the next budget year."

In similar business, county resident James Bregel requested that Andrade have one of his crews "paint a yellow stripe" on Timber Creek Road to forestall accidents on the roadway.

Since the request was made in the public forum, there was no indication on whether or not a crew would be reporting to that area of the county posthaste.