by Max Brantley
Too much happening today. I was just reminded by a letter from Gene Pfeifer of a tip I'd received earlier that County Judge Buddy Villines intended to have a hurryup Quorum Court meeting Thursday and vote on his plan to sink $20 million in county road and bridge money into a design dust-catcher on the state Highway and Transportation Department's stay-busy project to replace the Broadway Bridge. The design looks OK, if not spectacular, but Villines' tricolor paint job is an aesthetic bridge too far.
I heard earlier today about the fast track from the northern reaches of the county, where tying up county road money for several years has real consequences. It's of little concern in the major cities in the county who don't depend on the county for road maintenance. Though people in the city, like Pfeifer, have opinions, too. His:
The presently designed AHTD bridge contains bike/ped lanes of inadequate width, according to studies performed by Metroplan, our regional professional planners. Buddy’s bridge has wider lanes. But the AHTD designed bridge could have lanes of adequate width and Garver Engineers has estimated this might cost $2-$4 million. This functional improvement would be a worthy expenditure and the Quorum Court should approve this contribution to the AHTD.
The necessity of replacing the Broadway Bridge has focused the community on bridge design and whether to spend extra funds over and above the AHTD budget to enhance the appearance of the bridge. I realize the once in a lifetime opportunity presented for spending $20 million dollars on this bridge. But we have not had any county-wide brainstorming over whether there are greater opportunities to increase our quality of life and attract more tourism by spending this money elsewhere. Let’s have a discussion about other opportunities for that money.
Here's confirmation of the meeting, a notice of the specially called meeting. JPs got it about 4:30 p.m. Villines lists 10 sponsors, enough for special meeting approval if all are in place and vote.