City, state could be closer to agreeing on overpasses


Oct. 19, 2010 at 5:19 a.m.

A meeting between city and state officials may have breathed new life into the proposal to build potentially life-saving overpasses in northeast Victoria.

"It seems both parties left the meeting with a little more optimism and lot more clarity," said Randy Bena with the Texas Department of Transportation. "Right now, the project is just sort of on life support."

Mayor Will Armstrong declined to discuss the specifics at Tuesday's city council meeting until the terms are actually set out in a contract. He said that is scheduled to go before the city council Nov. 2.

"It's a council decision," he said. "But I think when the council sees the new contract, there will be an agreement and we'll be able to go forward with this project."

But Council Member Tom Halepaska cautioned against residents being overly optimistic. He noted there's still a possibility the deal won't happen, depending on the state.

The state has plans to build overpasses on Zac Lentz Parkway at Mockingbird Lane near the East High School and Salem Road, the site of several fatal crashes.

Funding for the project, estimated at $22.6 million, would come from the state, city and county. But the city announced earlier it was withdrawing from the project because it was not pleased with contract wording dealing with the funding.

Armstrong said Tuesday there were misunderstandings and he declined to say they were on the state's part because that would be speaking for the state.

"This is not something that we do every day," Armstrong said. "The state said we were not the only city that had some confusion and needed some clarification."

Bena said he thinks the meeting was an eye-opener and that it cleared up confusion the city had over the state's intent.

"It wasn't really new information," he said. "It was just clarifying what was there."



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