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County eyes eminent domain for bridge project

LIVINGSTON – Polk County Commissioners are scheduled to consider the “possible adoption” of an order of eminent domain to obtain needed right-of-way for an off-system bridge project when they meet Tuesday.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom on the third floor of the Polk County Courthouse in Livingston.

The land in question is less than a third of an acre on the Dick Skinner Road of Precinct 3 needed for a bridge scheduled for construction by the Texas Department of Transportation. Under the off-system bridge program, TxDOT constructs concrete and steel bridges similar to those found on state farm-to-market highways to replace wooden structures on county roads.

The use of eminent domain or condemnation by the county commissioners to acquire an easement for a road or bridge project is extremely rare. Depending to the benefit to the landowner, the right-of-way needed for such projects is normally either donated or a price is negotiated. The landowner in this case has reportedly refused to do either.

Other items on the agenda for the meeting include the utilization or disposition of the M.G. Reily Humanitarian Building (the Old Hospital Building) in Corrigan, the approval of a 2016 Texas Traffic Safety Grant to the sheriff’s department as part of the state’s “Click It or Ticket” program and a request from Homeland Properties to a variance in the county’s subdivision regulations for the Star Ridge development in Precinct 2.

Commissioners also will consider the Precinct 4 road and bridge department’s request to purchase road materials including limestone and iron ore, the repair and retrofit of the boiler system servicing the Polk County Jail, and the early voting schedule and voting locations for the May 24 Republican and Democratic primary runoff elections.