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Posts published in “Day: January 13, 2011”

US 90 set to open on Jan. 21

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) indicates that the Crosby Freeway may be opening soon as local officials show concern.
State Representative Dan Huberty R., District 127, and Crosby ISD Superintendent Dr. Keith Moore met with TXDoT officials on Jan. 7 to discuss fatalities on FM 2100 and potential action to widen that roadway when it was mentioned by TXDoT Officials that the Crosby Freeway was to open in a couple of weeks.


During an interview with Dr. Moore and an e-mail exchange with the already-accomplishing freshman legislator, it was learned that even when TXDoT receives the go-ahead funds for a roadway expansion it generally takes upwards of six years to begin driving on that road. Those who have lived nearby longer probably are more than familiar with that fact, since U.S. 90 was proposed in 1970.
Dr. Moore expressed that fatal crashes including one of students last May and on Dec. 28 with a school bus being involved concerned him both as an educator and as a father.
However, TXDoT Engineer Frank Mayfield at the Design Center said that the roadway will not be finished until late March or early April. “It may be true,” that the roadway is opening next week, “but that is what I am sticking to. But if we open up earlier then so much the better.”
Manager Jeff Volk had stated that completion of the Crosby Freeway has been slated for April 6 of this year since he had begun working on the project years ago.
Diedra Samuals is TXDoT’s Public Information Officer for this area. She is in the process of sending out invitations to a Jan. 21 ribbon cutting for both lanes of the roadway. She added that the lanes would be open the following day for traffic.
One explanation of the seeming contradiction inside the agency is that terms used may be interpreted to indicate that the frontage roads may be opening sooner but the Freeway in total may not yet be completed until the scheduled dates in late March or early April.
On Tuesday, workers were tending the main beam of the last bridge to be constructed at Maxie Road in North Shore.
The meeting between the Superintendent and Dr. Moore was with TXDoT’s District Engineer Douglas Stephens for Northeast Harris County about conditions on FM 2100.
Currently, with the exception of the overpasses of Runneburg and Krenek Roads, and some extra turn lanes on North FM 2100, the local roadways are much the same as they were 12 years ago and the situations have changed. Where some 1,200 vehicles traversed FM 2100 daily then, over 2,000 do now, according to TXDoT studies.
According to Captain Jack Hagee of Ken Jones’ Precinct 3 Constable’s Office 1,045 citations have been written since Nov. 5 of last year by that office alone on FM 2100 from IH-10 to the Montgomery County Line on FM 2100. Hagee says that most have been written North of U.S. 90, “the real problem is in the North toward Huffman from Crosby. We are going to just keep working traffic until it turns around.”
He points to the coincidence of 465 tickets written in both November and December.
That however does not solve the necessity of a wider roadway to weave inside before they come in contact with those of us just trying to go home, to school or to work for speeders, drunks, and cell phone users of the talk or texting variety.
Huberty, who was just sworn in last Monday, set up the meeting with TXDoT the Friday before. Huberty wrote, “After the recent increase in accidents on Farm to Market Road 2100 from Huffman through Crosby, I would like to see what can be done to decrease the amount of incidences on that stretch of road.”
Huberty indicates that the number of crashes has increased from 83 in 2009 to 132 in 2010. “From that, a decision was made to install a traffic light at the intersection of FM 2100 and Stroker Road, as well as, a flashing light at the intersection of FM 2100 and Spanish Cove. Although this will address some of the issues, I feel it is important to remember the other areas of that road.”
This follows on the heels of a TXDoT Restructure Council report that the agency has ongoing problems with transparency and accountability at the agency as reported by the Grant Thornton external audit.
The impending threat is that in the current economic situation it is possible that funding for transportation projects could be adversely affected. If the Texas Legislature, facing a $15 bullion shortfall before annual increases, has to force changes some observers believe the State may defund or delay needed projects to re-organize the agency.

Poe sworn in for fourth term in congress

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) was sworn in for a fourth term as the United States Representative for the Second Congressional District of Texas.
In the 112th Congress, Poe will remain committed to his pledge not to support any bill that raises taxes on the American people and continue to fight for limited government spending and reduce unnecessary federal regulations and interference in our businesses and personal lives.
“I am proud to continue to serve the 2nd District of Texas and represent the issues that matter most to southeast Texans,” said Poe. “The American people have been more engaged in our government over the past two years than in any other time in recent memory. It is time to restore our government to the people of this country. After all, it’s ‘We the People.’”

Poe continues to be a leading advocate for increased border security and serves as an Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus. As a strong proponent of energy independence, Poe is an ardent supporter of increased domestic drilling, alternative energy and supports an “all of the above” approach to lessening our dependence on foreign crude oil and natural gas.
As a former prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years, Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Poe also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight Subcommittees; as well as founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus advocating on behalf of victims in Congress.
For more information on Congressman Poe and the services provided by our offices, please visit our website: http://poe.house.gov.

Highlands Fire Department Firefighter of the Year

Mike Carsner receives award

HIGHLANDS– The Highlands Volunteer Fire Department held their 2011 Installation and Awards Banquet last Saturday night, at the Brady’s Landing restaurant in Houston.
Over 100 persons attended the gala evening, hosted and emceed by Fire Chief Harvey Little. Recognition was given for longevity, and the top award for Firefighter of the Year was presented to Mike Carsner, chief of Station No. 2, on a vote by the membership of the department.

In his prepared remarks, Chief Little reviewed the accomplishments of the department for 2010, and the goals for 2011. Due to a steady revenue stream from the 2 cents sales tax, the department was able to pay off debts on three fire trucks, and ordered a new Rescue Pumper to be delivered in 2011. Also purchased was a new fire chief’s car to replace the old 11 year old suburban.
Also noted by Little were improvements in the radio system, a light tower on Engine 27, receipt of a Forest Service grant of $155,000, and the start of a 24 hour duty crew at Station 2. Little expected in 2011 to retire the debt on two vehicles, and use the grant to purchase a new Tanker. An ISO insurance inspection is scheduled this year, which should lower rates for local residents.
Chief Little noted a decrease of 17% in total calls for the year, although 23 LifeFlight requests was the same as the previous year.
Membership of the department is now full, with 34 regular members, 1 EMS and 18 part time paid. Little had a class of 17 new members this year, which was expanded from previous years due to the acceptance of out of area applicants.
Special recognition was given to the Department Chaplain, Rev. Phillip Morris, and the board of HCESD#14, which was present.
Also recognized was Patrick Brown as Rookie of the Year, and Mike Carsner as Firefighter of the Year. Rookie of the Year is given in memory of William Taylor, an HVFD firefighter who passed away suddenly in 1999.
See other awards on Page 2.

Lynchburg Ferry Boats get new, cleaner engines

LYNCHBURG— The second of the two boats at the historic Lynchburg Ferry left her berth Friday morning to be fitted with a new clean-burning, energy-efficient engine.
When the William P. Hobby returns in about six weeks she will join the Ross. S. Sterling as 46-year-old boats that will be burning about 25 percent less fuel to operate.
Harris County Precinct Two secured $588, 611 in grant funding through the Houston-Galveston Area Council for replacement of engines on both boats to reduce pollution in the region.
“Operation of these historic ferries in the most efficient manner fits perfectly with our emphasis on a leaner county government for the residents of Harris County,” said Commissioner Jack Morman. “We will work to provide dependable service with the least amount of strain on taxpayers’ pocketbooks.”

The new engines are rated to save as much as 400 gallons of fuel per month for the two boats that currently use about 1,400 gallons monthly. Additionally, emissions of dangerous pollutants are expected to fall by as much as two-thirds.
The ferry service began in 1822 by Nathaniel Lynch, a private ferry operator, just below the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou. While already an integral part of the growth of Texas, the ferry’s place in history was cemented by its proximity to the fateful Battle of San Jacinto in which Texians gained Independence from Mexican dictator Santa Anna.
Harris County, formed by the Republic of Texas in 1837, assumed operations of the ferry and established rates for crossing. In 1890, the county chose to eliminate any fees and the service remains free to this day.
Currently, each of the boats carries an average of 750 vehicles per day in the 1,100 foot crossing. Each vessel has in excess of 250,000 hours of running time in their lives. The Lynchburg Ferries are approaching 800,000 miles of combined travel.
The engine replacements are being done by Bludworth Marine on Harborside Drive in Galveston.