Belton bridge project approved despite neighborhood outcry
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Alongside a massive construction project on Interstate 35, the Texas Department of Transportation is working many smaller projects in Central Texas.
One of those projects involves rebuilding a failed bridge over the Lampassas River near Belton.
In the six years since the bridge collapsed, neighbors have grown accustomed to the lack of traffic, but TxDOT and Belton city leaders say the bridge needs to be reopened.
The Texas Department of Transportation offered a deal to rebuild the bridge at little cost to the city of Belton.
Cathy Neese and about two dozen of her neighbors, who all live near the bridge, signed a petition against it and spoke against it at city council meetings, but Belton leaders voted to rebuild anyway.
"It's a public safety issue, but it's also a development issue. We just see that area as one that can grow," Paul Romer with the city said.
Now neighbors are wondering what will happen to their land and homes.
“We've already expressed our opinion and we don't have any clout," Neese said. "We don't want it to be developed into a big shopping center across the river—which is what we think is coming down the pike."
Residents just want a little consideration.
"They can have their shopping center, but they don't need to turn us into a cement pond," Neese said.
The new bridge will be about 275 feet long and 26 feet wide to meet modern design standards.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014.