Commissioners approve resolution for closure of FM 485 for upcoming bridge work

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager

 

A major road will soon be closed in the northern part of Milam County.

Commissioners Court approved a resolution in support of closing FM 485 from Highway 77 to FM 2269 to replace the bridge at Cow Creek in Precinct 1 during its meeting on Feb. 27. 

The Texas Department of Transportation will replace the structurally deficient bridge at Cow Creek and plans to close FM 485 to through traffic during the removal and construction of the new bridge. There isn’t a set timeline for the project, but it should begin soon.

Traffic will be rerouted from FM 485 down state Highway 77 to Highway 36 and back to FM 2269 where it will rejoin FM 485 on the other side of the bridge. Local traffic will still be allowed to use FM 485.

Commissioners also heard a request from Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Gary Northcott addressing the need for new facilities for his office during the public participation portion of the meeting.

Northcott told commissioners that the facilities he and his staff work in daily are unacceptable and asked that the court look into options.

“Gentleman I want to speak from my heart,” Northcutt said. “I am somewhat disappointed in the recognition that Thorndale had over the past week or two. As you know we had a significant weather event in Thorndale and we had damages to home and things of that nature, which is all fixable. My grievance is that my office has been without power since the 20th and I still have no power.”

Northcott said he is currently running his office on a 600-watt generator that he brought from his home. 

“I requested help from the Co-Op of which we pay $9,600 for rent for that building and I have been rudely talked to and told that they are in a battle with Oncor over a service poll,” he said. “I have a duty to the citizens of Milam County and Precinct 4 to do my job to the best of my ability and I am not able to do that. I have no lights.”

He said there is a serious problem in that office. 

“We have black mold coming up from the baseboards, which I understand is a serious health hazard,” he said. “When it rains from the north the area that my clerk has to stand in has somewhere between an inch and a half an inch of water. I have to put a pallet down for her to stand on so she doesn’t get electrocuted. To me this is unacceptable. I love Milam County, but I think something needs to be done. I can’t understand how it is more profitable to give the Co-Op $9,600 a year when we can have a building built in Thorndale on a lot that the county already owns and finance that. It is still money that is going to the county and in my opinion won’t cost the taxpayers an extra dime.”

He recommended building a new building in Thorndale stating that he doesn’t want to move to Rockdale because 90 percent of his constituents are in Thorndale and they want the office to stay there.

Commissioners were not allowed to comment on the situation because it was during public comment.

Commissioners set a date for a Public Hearing about a proposed Solid Waste Ordinance that will set the area where solid waste can be disposed of in the county should anyone ever want to come in and build a landfill. The proposed area is near ALCOA where the company already disposes of its waste. The public hearing on the ordinance is set for April 10.

The court also heard a report from Gary Westbrook with Post Oak Savannah and took action to allow the District Attorney’s Office to apply for a grant to fund the VAWA Special Crimes Prosecutor.