Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bielek Backpedaling on State Park Entrance?

TxDOT Regional Engineer, Bob Bielek, appears to be backpedaling on his promises about a Franklin Mountains State Park entrance. A plan to connect the southern and northern sides of the park dissected by Transmountain Road was set to begin this fall. On April 11, 2014 at City Council Rep. Carl Robinson's breakfast meeting, Bielek said regarding the connectivity project: "Expect to start in Fall 2014.  Will take 3 – 4 months to complete.  Not a difficult project, because it is a short-span bridge.  Costs a bit over $1,000,000." His statement was not much different from what he indicated in November of last year to a group of park advocates prior to a public meeting in December. Bielek told the public that his discretionary funds would pay for the project.

Now Bielek is saying, as elpasonaturally has learned, that the project might begin in January and that he is looking for money for it.

The plan called for a new park entrance with a corridor under the Transmountain highway for animals, mountain bicyclists, hikers and other pedestrians. Conceptual drawings may be viewed at this post. The TxDOT page of the drawings is not loading well currently.

It seems that Bielek is backpedaling on the project which suggests that he was never serious about it before. "He often tells people what they want to hear," one observer mentioned. 

What's next? Perhaps like so many public projects the actual start date is actually much later than originally estimated. It may be prudent to wait until December to see what, if anything, happens. If nothing, then it will be obvious that once again TxDOT has been less than honest with Texas citizens they are supposed to be serving.

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