I told you in this column that I had gone to Austin to visit with certain departments with the support of State Representative Ryan Guillen’s office. One of the major complaints I had was the lack of support by TXDOT in our county for the maintenance of county bridges. It is a fact that TXDOT is responsible for ALL bridges in the state of Texas including county bridges. This was confirmed in our meeting. TXDOT requires a grant match for each bridge and we met the match for a bridge in 2015. That bridge should have been replaced in the next 12 months (as I understood it) and nothing to date has happened. I have been very concerned about the La Parita Creek Bridge on south CR422. School buses go over that bridge twice a day, oil trucks and local residents. TXDOT rates our (all) county bridges every two years and this bridge has been rated as one of our worst bridges. Every time I try to follow up on it I have been told there was no money to do the work.
Well, networking with other county judges has taught me they are getting bridges done in their county. When I brought this up to the senior officials at the Austin meeting I was basically told this is not right and they would look into it. Last Thursday I got a call from our local TXDOT engineer (Jessica Castiglione), who does a good job for us. She told me there had been a new review on that one bridge by Austin and its replacement importance rating had been moved up to the number one problem bridge in their “off system” bridge network in the San Antonio District. She said I should see it done soon after the first of the year. I pressed for construction details and I was told it would not be rebuilt as is but would be wider and stronger in basic construction. I feel Jessica’s hands are often tied by her superiors and I sensed pleasure in her voice giving the information.
It is something like this that makes this job rewarding! I will keep you informed on its progress.
Thanks for listening.
We want you to be proud of your County Government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at email@example.com