Monday, February 11, 2008

Deal would expedite 360/E. Broad Street crossing expansion

By ROBERT CADWALLADER - Special to the Star-Telegram - Mon, Feb. 11, 2008
MANSFIELD -- An agreement between city and state officials could speed relief to the traffic-clogged intersection of Texas 360 and East Broad Street by early fall.

The City Council is set to consider a resolution tonight that would clear the way for the $785,000 project, which would install traffic signals and widen the East Broad Street crossing between the northbound and southbound frontage roads. The main lanes of Texas 360 have not yet been constructed.

"During the morning and evening peak hours, it's hard to get through the intersection," Assistant City Manager Chris Burkett said. "These improvements will help that, especially during the football season."

The Mansfield school district's stadium stands near the intersection, one of the most complained-about crossings in the city.

The state has agreed to allow the city to bid on the project; the state bidding process would take about six months longer. However, a major obstacle had to be negotiated away.

Several months ago, the state said that if city took over the project it would also have to take over maintenance of not only that intersection but all other state highway signals in the city.

The city has to start maintaining those lights anyway by 2010 because its population exceeds 50,000. But city officials wanted to avoid the estimated $192,000 in costs over the next two years.

State officials have now agreed to allow the city to maintain only the Texas 360-East Broad intersection during that period.

Mansfield City Council

Three elections: The council is expected to call the general city election -- to decide the Place 6 and 7 council seats, currently held by Michael McSpadden and Larry Broseh, respectively -- and two special elections to fill the mayoral vacancy and update the city charter for the first time in 20 years. Embattled Mayor Barton Scott stepped down last month in the face of a recall election. The three elections would be May 10.

State of the City: City Manager Clayton Chandler will outline the staff's analysis of the city's current and future financial health. In this shortened version of the staff's presentation to New York bond rating agencies in the fall, Chandler said he will acknowledge that the housing slowdown has crimped the city budget but that continuing commercial growth -- especially in sales taxes -- has eased the impact.

Gas drilling: The council will discuss a subcommittee's suggestions for stepping up controls on oil and gas well exploration. A key goal is to get drilling companies to share right of way to run transmission lines.

Read more in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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