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    Seven Points Road Construction Set
TxDoT Engineer Outlines Plans for New CCL Bridges
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY-Drivers in Seven Points should see construction start on the State Highway 334 widening project within the next couple of months, Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis members heard Wednesday.
A bid has been accepted on the Seven Points widening project, and signs/barricades should be appearing soon, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) associate engineer Matt Mitchell told Kiwanis members at their weekly noon luncheon.
As planned, the nearly $12.6 million SH 334 project will expand the existing two-lane road (now 44 feet wide) to a 67-foot-wide five-lane highway with continuous left turn lane, starting from the causeway bridge through the SH 274 intersection, Mitchell said.
Two phases of a major expansion of U.S. Highway 175 - the nearly $13.5 million section through downtown Eustace, and a $21.3 million section from Eustace east to Athens - "are now underway, as most of you know," Mitchell said.
The downtown Eustace section, which is Phase 1 of a project to rebuild U.S. 175 as a divided four-lane highway from the Kaufman County line to Athens, has run into an environmental snag near the Farm-to-Market 316 north intersection, which may delay it slightly, Mitchell said.
Phase 1 is approximately 35 percent complete, while Phase 2, the section between Eustace and Athens, is about 21 percent complete. Construction on Phase 3, the $21.97 million section between Mabank and Eustace, will go to bid in January, he added.
TxDoT plans call for U.S. 175 to be upgraded to a four-lane divided highway all the way from Dallas to Jacksonville, and a section from the Larue area to the Anderson County line is set to bid in fiscal year 2008.
Another major area project, the replacement of three SH 198 bridges across Cedar Creek Lake - the bridge between Gun Barrel City and Payne Springs and two bridges in the Log Cabin/Caney City/Malakoff area - is scheduled to be bid in March, 2008.
That project, estimated at $46.9 million, will include some federal funding to replace the Caney Creek, Clear Creek and Twin Creek bridges, Mitchell said.
"It's definitely on 'go'," he said.
Those bridges will be arched, and expand the two-lane SH 198 to four lanes.
"They're shooting for 15 feet (clearance from the water), and on a couple of them, it might be 20 feet," he said. "We're working with boat manufacturers on that."
When asked about the SH 334 causeway bridge between Gun Barrel City and Seven Points, Mitchell explained TxDoT and the federal government have a scoring system for rating bridges for replacement, ranging from zero to 100 points.
"The Caney City bridges scored low enough to be eligible for federal funds," he said. "(The SH 334) bridge did not."