County sends $400,000 to TxDoT for extension
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Nov. 2, 2005 -- Hopkins County commissioners authorized the release of more than $400,000 to the Texas Department of Transportation to bring the start of construction of the State Highway extension 11 a step closer.

TxDoT area engineer Ernest Teague said the money will allow his department to seek a services agreement for the appraisal of properties that will be affected by the new highway and their ultimate purchase.

"Before we even begin any part of the appraisal process we need to have that money in hand," Teague said.

Research on the property in the projected right-of-way will require time and must be completed before negotiations can begin with the actual property owners.

"I don't anticipate that process beginning before February or March of next year," Teague said. "It takes some time to get a service agreement in hand."

Teague said he does not expect the first contract to be let for almost a year.

"At least, on paper, we are keeping it programmed for an August letting [of contracts]," he said. "Everyone realizes that is probably optimistic, but we are going to try to have our plans ready for an August letting."

The engineer said there were two major factors that must figure into the process: All the properties must be cleared and in the state's hands, as well as getting utilities moved from the right-of-way in order for construction to begin.

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