Conroe Council discusses options for FM 2854 historic bridge

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Conroe City Administrator Paul Virgadamo discusses options with Council for the FM 2854 Historic Bridge during Wednesday's workshop

By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County

Conroe City Administrator Paul Virgadamo said there’s been a lot of discussion about the old trestle bridge on FM 2854.

“We’ve looked at it over, probably a 10-year period of somebody trying to take this bridge over. The County apparently has responsibility of it, and if you’ve been out to the site, it’s beginning to lean, it’s very rusty,” said Virgadamo at Wednesday’s Conroe City Council workshop.

Virgadamo said they have had different engineers look at it to determine if it can even be moved.

“There’s that possibility, but until somebody grabs onto it and you determine whether it falls apart or not, or whether it really can be removed or stored, there’s a lot of cost to that,” said Virgadamo.

Virgadamo said he will try to put a group together, consisting of the City and County, to try and determine which direction they need go with this, and if they can get some outside parties to help them fund it.

Council discussed a bid award for the railroad crossing improvements at Crighton Road and I-45, which will be voted on at the regular Council meeting Thursday morning.

Tommy Woolley, City Assistant Director of Projects and Transportation, said Crighton Road was widened a few years ago, but they couldn’t widen over the railroad tracks because they didn’t have the permits.

Woolley said they have been working on the permits with UP (Union Pacific) and they finally got them in. They’ve also coordinated UPS improvements, including widening the signal arms out and widening the planking out so the city can put a road across it.

“It’s going to help with the mobility of traffic there at the intersection of the frontage road. Right now it backs up almost a mile sometimes, so it’s going to help with having extra lanes go across both east and west on Crighton there at the railroad track,” said Woolley.

Woolley said cost of the project is around $230,000, and it should take a short amount of time to complete the project.

Council discussed a request from Conroe Fire Department for the reimbursement of lost leave time for a number of firefighters, who were not able to take accumulative leave during the time period of August 2018 through July 2019.

“Over about a year period, we had about 12 openings, due to a lot of reasons. Because of our minimum manning needs, we have to have a certain number of firefighters at work every day, we can only allow a certain amount off,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Legoudes Jr.

Legoudes said because of those 12 openings, they weren’t able to allow a lot of people off work every day.

“As a result, the firefighters are accumulating time up to their maximum accrual levels. Once they reach the maximum accrual level, they effectively stop gaining time, they lose the time they otherwise would have accrued,” said Legoudes.

Legoudes said 56 of their 130 firefighters were affected, and with benefits and everything the cost is about $108,000.

Council will vote on this item and others at their regular meeting Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Conroe City Hall, located at 300 West Davis St.

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