GONZALES COUNTY — The historic bridge crossing Peach Creek on County Road 353 will not be torn down. The Texas Historical Commission is working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to refurbish the historic Peach Creek Bridge, and bring her back to her former glory.
"This bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C as significant at the state level," according to TxDOT Public Information Officer Danny Perez.
Peach Creek Bridge is one of just 20 like it left in the state. It was constructed in 1910 and by looks alone she has seen her fair share of beatings. The wooden treads are worn and patched, the rails are twisted and rusting, but at the heart of the structure is its strength.
Perez said the most logical explanation for the damage to the rails is vehicle impact.
Gonzales County Commissioners heard the plan Monday morning, during Commissioners Court. Pct. 1 Commissioner K.O. "Dell" Whiddon told commissioners it is his understanding the bridge will be lifted off of the creek pass and moved into the gravel roadway on CR 353, where TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission can work on the structure, then place it back in its original location.
According to Perez, the bridge will be handled with care during the repair process.
"We are moving forward with a plan that will properly address the delicate nature of the structure. The work on the structure will help ensure longer service life and addresses deficiencies such as a lack of a paint system to combat corrosion and bent and misaligned components," Perez said.
Whiddon said history needs to be preserved and he has been assured by TxDOT and the Historic Commission the repairs will make the structure much stronger and extend the life of the bridge.
According to Perez, each historic bridge is unique and must be individually looked at for today’s modern traffic needs which can include emergency and school bus traffic, and oversize agricultural and oil and gas equipment.
The bridge work will cause a temporary closure of CR 353 at Peach Creek, most likely beginning in April. Commissioners said this should not pose much of a problem because there are two other bridges crossing Peach Creek in close proximity.
"We anticipate this work taking approximately six months to complete," Perez said.
According to TxDOT, the existing bridge is 110 feet long and 12 feet wide. Weight limit of the bridge is 8000 pounds gross and 5000 pounds axle or tandem.
The project Punch List includes:
In other business, commissioners approved the minutes of the December 18, 2017 Commissioners Court Meeting, as well as receive Monthly Reports from several departments, including: Pct. 1 Constable, Pct. 3 Constable, Pct. 4 Constable; receive a Racial Profile Report from Pct. 4 Constable
Tax Assessor-Collector Crystal Cedillo gave her Monthly Report.
"In December, we collected $10,044,244.59 with the county's portion being $2,521,251.81 Which brings our year-to-date collections to $4,496,142.08 or 33.45 percent of the adjusted 2017 county roll," Cedillo said."
Commissioners also received the Tax Assessor-Collector's continuing education certificate of completion, which is in compliance with Texas Senate Bill 546 requirements.
The Commissioners approved disbursing Permanent School Funds to Gonzales Independent School District, which According to County Treasure Joann Mercer, adds up to approximately $200,000.
Gonzales County Judge David Bird described the disbursement as "old funds", which have carried over across the years.
County Auditor Becky Weston has received the GISD budgetary information required and is set to transfer the funds.
Commissioners approved an agreement for services between Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office and TTL/Drash Consultants – regarding a foundation and floor slab distress study at the jail.
According to Gonzales County Sheriff, Matt Atkinson the slab issue is a result of an HVAC drainage problem the county is already mitigating.
Commissioners also passed a resolution adopting the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) approved Gonzales County Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan; and, a temporary District Clerk position.
Gonzales County Commissioners Court meets twice monthly, on the first and third Monday at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners Courtroom at Gonzales County Courthouse, 414 St. Joseph Street, Gonzales.