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Hwy. 71 work, Bastrop roads subjects of Town Hall meeting

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

Updates on several area road construction projects, including Hwy. 71 overpasses, will be the subject of a Bastrop Town Hall meeting on Monday, Sept. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at the Convention & Exhibit Center at 1408 Chestnut Street. The public is invited and strongly encouraged to attend.

The Bastrop Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event, with support from the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation. Chamber President Becki Womble said the items for discussion will be current and future construction along Hwy. 71 – centered around two highway overpasses – and City of Bastrop work on several roads. She said the title for the meeting will be “What’s Happening with Our Roads?” TxDOT and City of Bastrop officials will be giving the updates.

Construction of the overpass at the Tahitian Village intersection is underway. (Photo by Terry Hagerty Photography)

Part of the meeting will include a discussion of Proposition 7, which is aimed to “provide a new, stable source of funding for transportation in Texas, dedicated to the construction and maintenance of roads.” Bastrop City Manager Mike Talbot will give an update for road projects within the city, including paving the new parking area at the now-cleared site of the former Bastrop Advertiser building.

Womble said of the importance of the meeting, “We want to facilitate getting correct information out there to the public on all the projects.” Roy Dill, a TxDOT Area Engineer based in Bastrop who will speak at the meeting, echoed those sentiments. “We’ll be giving an update of what is under construction now, and upcoming construction (of an overpass) at the Hwy. 95/71 intersection.” Dill added that work on the 95/71 overpass is definitely “funded” and will begin by the spring of 2016.

Womble gave kudos to TxDOT officials, saying they have been “wonderful” in responding to queries and concerns from local residents and businesses, including meeting with one manager of a local apartment complex located astride the Hwy. 71 work.

Frontage roads are being installed in preparation for overpass construction. (Photo by Terry Hagerty Photography)

As for Proposition 7 discussion at the Town Hall meeting, Womble said that will include informing those attending the meeting about the following likely questions: “Where does the money come from?”; “What can the money be used for?”; “Will Proposition 7 raise my taxes?”; and “How much will Prop 7 raise for the state highway fund?” “Our Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors just passed a resolution to support Proposition 7,” Womble added.

Womble said that she hopes motorists and residents alike will be patient with the Hwy. 71 overpass construction, adding, “The next three to three and a half years will be challenging – but it will make travel more convenient and safer.”