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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

TxDOT set to widen FM 1442


Last updated 1/11/2022 at 9:06pm

Cars and trucks travel up and down FM 1442, one of Orange County's busiest roadways, as nearby residents wait their turns to enter the roadway from their neighborhoods.

Construction is set to begin next week on a widening of Farm to Market Road 1442 from Highway 408 to Highway 105.

According to Sarah Dupre, Texas Department of Transportation public information officer, a turning lane will be added between the north and south lanes and each side of the road will get a 10-foot wide shoulder.

"According to TxDOT, the plan is to make it safer by putting in a turning lane," Kirk Roccaforte, Orange County Precinct 3 Commissioner, said.

"Hopefully that will prevent cars from going around [cars stopped to turn] on the shoulder and helping the people trying to come on to 1442."

One of Orange County's most heavily traveled roadways with traffic of about 8,000 cars per day, FM 1442 is bisected by entryways to about a dozen new or newish neighborhoods.

Until recently, speed limits of 70 mph were in force over most of its length beyond the Highway 408 intersection, the location of the Bridge City schools' elementary and intermediate school campuses.

Highway 105 is the west entry to the Orangefield schools and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Jeremy Bradshaw, the pastor of Bridge City's Liberty Baptist Church, was happy to see speed limits recently reduced to 60 miles per hour south of the 105 intersection.

But he's not sure all have gotten the news.

"They'll come flying down here at 70-75 [mph]," Bradshaw said. "I get anxious for some of our older folks and young families trying to get in and out of our parking lot.

"I do think a turn lane would help."

The pastor's church is located just north of the Entergy power plant's employee entrance.

"When I'm coming to the church, I put my turn signal on when I get to Entergy," Bradshaw said.

"Then they [other cars] go to passing – sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left."

Roccaforte, formerly Bridge City's longtime mayor, knows of the danger.

"There have been quite a few accidents out there, and some deadly accidents over the years," he said.

Bradshaw is ready for a safer road.

"I hope to see improvement because you'll for sure see more people moving out here," he said.


BC Council eyes new city manager


After interviewing four finalists over four nights last week, members of the City Council of Bridge City could name a new city manager on Jan. 18.

"We're not through evaluating candidates," Mayor David Rutledge said Tuesday of the work to replace a retiring Jerry Jones.

City manager since 2005, Jones' retirement is official Jan. 15.

The city council met in another closed session Tuesday night – a meeting which could zero in on a top choice. Or not.

Rutledge said earlier in the process that at least 12 people applied for the city manager job.

"We have to go over their answers and see how well each fit the criteria of what we want," the mayor said.

"I can't tell you how long it is going to take because I can't tell you how long it's going to take to get to a consensus."

Even after a choice is made, employment details must be arranged, the mayor pointed out.

The hiring of the city manager, the professional who runs the city's day-to-day operation, must come in an open meeting after it appears on an agenda posted for 72 hours.

The council has its regular monthly meeting set for Jan. 18, but no agenda has been made public.


Marsh Estates get OK to build


After clearing up drainage questions with the satisfaction of the city, county and the Orange County Drainage District, builders of the new Marsh Estates on FM 1442 are ready to go.

County commissioners accepted the amended plat at their Tuesday meeting.

The housing addition will add 39 new homes to the always tight Bridge City real estate inventory.


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