Long Awaited Bridge Widening Ribbon Cutting
Last Saturday afternoon, Texas Department of Transportation, along with US Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX, 10th District) and State Representative Tim Kleinschmidt cut the ribbon on the new FM 696 bridge over Pin Oak Creek. The ribbon was cut by David Sherrill, a life long resident of Blue who initiated a petition to have this and another bridge on FM 696 widened.
This bridge was one of two structures built on FM 696 in the past year using American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds. The total cost of both projects was $2- million. In addition to the bridge over Pin Oak Creek, a second one was built over Mine Creek, about two miles northeast of FM 619.
The old bridges, built in 1950, had one 10-foot lane in each direction. The new ones will accommodate two 12- foot travel lanes with 10-foot shoulders. Construction on the two jobs began last December.
Lee/Bastrop County Farm Bureau President Mike Organ was present at the event. He said, “The bridge opening was a special day for a lot of people. US Representative Michael McCaul gave David Sherrill all the credit for the bridges getting updated. McCaul said Sherrill initiated the petition and brought him out to see the situation a day or two after the accident that claimed the lives of two Luminant employees in 2008. McCaul said Sherrill’s actions made it easy for his office to get the needed federal help.”
State Representative Kleinschmidt pointed out to the audience that America is the only country in the world where this type of public action can get things done.
Once the petition and political pressure from these two got things going, the assistant District Engineer with TxDOT quickly drew up the plans for the project. Hunter Industries, the contractor for the project, has been working overtime getting the bridges finished by October 1st.
Most county electives, including Sheriff Rodney Meyer, County Attorney Martin Placke, and Precinct Four Commissioner Ronny Bradshaw, were present. Also in attendance were members of the two deceased ladies’ families. Congressman McCaul spent some time talking to the attending family members.
Organ said, “After the ribbon cutting ceremonies were over, McCaul and Kleinschmidt sat on the new bridge rail and again thanked David Sherrill and his wife, Bonnie, for the work they had done to make FM 696 safer for all who use the road on a daily basis, especially school buses.”