Wednesday, February 22, 2006

As Toll Roads Prepare To Open, Residents & Businesses Find Out The Hidden Costs

Here's the article from the AAS on closing ramps in Round Rock, Round Rock residents protest ramp closures:
A standing-room-only crowd of 250 frustrated residents and business owners packed City Council chambers Tuesday night to protest the impending permanent closures of four on-and-off Interstate 35 ramps near the shadows of Texas 45 North.

The closures could come by year's end to make room for the toll road's Round Rock flyovers, also tentatively scheduled to open at that point, Texas Department of Transportation officials said.
To a certain extent this is all our faults for allowing these people to represent us. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to fix problems with the current project. It's just that I wouldn't expect any help from TxDOT or our current elected representation on this. Here's what Bob Daigh, Austin district engineer for the Department of Transportation had to say:
"Unfortunately, for safety reasons, those four ramps must be closed," he said. "I will not find myself in a hospital with one of your kids because of a weave problem that we didn't prohibit because of a proper decision to close those ramps."

"I wish I were Santa Claus and could drop an infinite amount of money on this area, and I wish I could talk happy talk to you and make all the problems go away," he said. "But I refuse to do that. We have a safety issue."
Merry Toll Roads! Here's what a local business person has to say about what these "pro-business Republicans" - that's an oxymoron like "compassionate conservative" - are doing:
But Round Rock residents argue that closing four ramps at once will create nightmarish traffic jams on the frontage roads. And business owners say they fear losing money if shoppers find it more difficult to reach their doors.

Sean Greenberg, one of three owners of Pluckers Wing Bar, set to open in March near the McNeil Road exit on the east side of I-35, said he's dismayed by talk of ramp closures.

"Had we realized what the situation was, . . . we certainly would've chosen a different location within the Round Rock area," he said.
Don't worry Congressman Carter adds these words of wisdom:
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, told the crowd that he'd help how ever possible. Away from the lectern, Carter said: "I'm here to say, 'Let's calm down.' Federal funds are always helpful, but they (state transportation officials) haven't asked for them."

Also attending the tense meeting were state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, and Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman.
Calm down! You're daily life is about to be screwed up but just calm down. Oh they have a fix and in typical "non-Republican" fashion they're going to throw money at it:
To ease the pain of southbound ramp closures, Round Rock officials unveiled a $10 million plan to build an escape route, a new road, under Hesters Crossing Road. Drivers would stay on the southbound I-35 frontage road, go under Hesters Crossing and then re-enter the frontage road, thus avoiding the Hesters Crossing signal. Planned improvements include adding two lanes to the Hesters Crossing bridge.
Thanks for allowing and escape route out of my neighborhood for $10 million. Remember everybody, If you don't like the way these people are treating you there are excellent Democratic alternatives, Mary Beth Harrell and Karen Felthauser.


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