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Waco Street at US 90 to close, eventually

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DAYTON – As plans to construct an overpass over the railroad tracks on US 90 continue to move forward, city council took the first step to close the Waco Street intersection in the future.

TxDOT asked council on Monday night to set the wheels in motion, as it was necessary to finalize environmental issues and to work out details with Union Pacific, who would need to move the crossing arms at some point.

“ Part of the agreements with the railroad would need for that road to be closed,” said TxDOT Are Engineer Roberto Rodriguez.

One concern brought by council was the when the road would actually be closed for the city to notify residents of the streets closing. Councilman John Headrick asked whether the state would place signage to warn residents of the impending closure, arguing that was not the city’s responsibility.

“The sooner we get to that timeframe, the more accurate we’re going to know when the railroad is going to come in and do that work,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez went on to say that it would likely be more than a year out before that occurred, but had no firm date. Projections for the start of the overpass are set for 2024, with environmental studies expected to be complete sometime in 2023.

“ The worst- case scenario would be at the beginning of the project. However, we are still hoping for the possibility that we can keep it open as long as possible,” said Rodriguez.

Councilwoman Janette Frick asked Rodriguez if the work would affect Waco at FM 1960; he clarifi ed there was no plan to close that intersection and that CR 605 would not be impacted by the closure.

Councilman Andy Conner asked if there were any way the project could move on without closing Waco Street, fearing the closure would greatly impact traffic even more than it currently does.

“ I think it is going to make traffic worse,” exclaimed Conner.

Rodriguez mentioned other options were being considered, including constructing an at-grade crossing at Klemp Road, which Conner and Mayor Caroline Wadzeck stated would be years from happening.

Councilman Alvin Burres motioned to close Waco Street at that point, and Frick seconded it. When the votes were cast, it was Burres and Frick in favor and Conner and Headrick in opposition. That led to a rare tiebreaking vote from Wadzeck, the only other possible vote, after the passing of Councilman Dwight Pruitt. So Wadzeck broke the tie in favor of closing the street.

At that point, Headrick chimed in with concerns that TxDOT was building the overpass, which he agrees is needed, before working to correct other transportation needs around the city, citing issues at FM 1008, among others.

“Again, 100% we need the overpass, but we’re not taking care of the other road issues before we get to that point; you guys are just jumping to the overpass,” Headrick continued, “I really wish you all would work on some of the other areas besides the overpass.”

Rodriguez responded by saying that TxDOT would also take a look at some of the other intersections around the area.

In other business, council called a special election to fill Position 1, which was held by Pruitt, who unexpectedly passed away last month. That seat will be placed on the May 6 ballot, where voters will already be deciding the mayor’s office and two other council seats.

As of press time, only former councilman Josh Townsend had fi led for a place on the ballot, while several other prospective candidates picked up packets. The last day to file is Monday, March 27.

It was also announced that the city, in conjunction with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, would host a Fourth of July fireworks display and other activities at the community center. It is the first event of its kind in Dayton in recent memory.

Finally, council also approved street closures for the Dayton Olde Tyme Days Festival, April 14-16.