Road projects are planned for all four of McLennan County’s precincts in the upcoming year, and conditions of county-maintained roads vary widely, according to the annual road report commissioners recently completed.

In addition to road condition and construction updates, the report also states more than 900 traffic signs across the county went missing or were damaged in the past year.

Road-condition ratings for the state-mandated reports are left to commissioners’ discretion because there are no set standards, County Administrator Dustin Chapman said.

Precinct 1

Precinct 1 is in the beginning phases of a project to widen, expand and update Surrey Ridge Road. Engineers completed the design phase and are working to secure needed right-of-way. The project is expected to cost more than $4.4 million. Surrey Ridge is one of several road projects the county if funding with a series of bonds.

Precinct 1 has 216 county maintained roads covering almost 239 miles. Paved roads cover 187 miles, and all-weather limestone gravel roads cover 52 miles, according to the report.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell gave the precinct’s roads, culverts and bridges an overall rating of “fair.” Snell projected $850,000 will be needed for maintenance in the upcoming fiscal year.

The report also states 257 traffic control devices have been defaced or torn down in the past year.

Work is also continuing on the 12th Street bridge, which has been down for about two years. The project is expected to cost more than $500,000, and a grant will cover most of the cost. The county’s contribution is projected to be $18,000.

Crunk Bridge has also remained down for about a year and was recently approved for a Texas Department of Transportation program, with the county set to cover 3.8 percent, or $21,255, of the total cost.

Precinct 2

Precinct 2 Commissioner Lester Gibson listed several projects necessary to bring overall road conditions from “passable” to “good.”

Projects include work on Old Waco Road and County Road 578 at Tehuacana Creek.

Old Waco Road could cost about $2.3 million per mile depending on design and hurdles to construction, according to the report.

Major culvert installations are nweeded for multiple areas, including Rattlesnake Road, Kensington Road, South Carpenter Street, and East Old Axtell Road, the report states.

Precinct 2 has 220 county maintained roads covering almost 212 miles. Paved or chip-sealed roads cover 128 miles, and all-weather limestone gravel roads cover 84 miles.

Gibson projected $1.4 million will be needed for maintenance in the upcoming fiscal year.

Precinct 2 was the only precinct to not report any traffic control devices defaced or torn down.

Precinct 3

Moving Precinct 3 road conditions to higher rating will require work on several roads, including Jerry Mashek Drive, Old Dallas Road and John Nors Road.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Jones rated roads as “passable,” “average” or “under current repair,” according to the report.

“We’re always working on a bunch of roads out there,” Jones said. “We’re trying to get them in as good a condition as we can.”

Precinct 3 has 255 county-maintained roads covering almost 236 miles. Paved roads cover 183 miles, and all-weather limestone gravel roads cover 53 miles.

Jones projected $2.6 million will be needed for road maintenance in the upcoming fiscal year.

There were 157 traffic control devices defaced or torn down over the past year, according to the report.

“It’s crazy the amount of signs we go through a year,” Jones said. “People steal those things like crazy. It’s really sad. We’re constantly putting back up.”

Precinct 4

Preparation has started for major work on Speegleville Road and Chapel Road in Precinct 4. The cost of both projects will be covered by the same series of bonds covering the Surrey Ridge Lane project in Precinct 1. The three projects may cost more than $30 million.

Precinct 4 has 401 county-maintained roads covering 394 miles. Paved roads cover 354 miles, and all-weather limestone gravel roads cover 40 miles.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ben Perry said the precinct uses a software system to rate roads. The system accounts for a road’s age, dates of maintenance and other factors Perry said. He rated condition of the precinct’s roads as “good,” according to the report.

“My guys do a really good job of staying on top of keeping our roads in shape and in good repair,” he said.

Perry projected $1.26 million will be needed for road maintenance in the upcoming fiscal year.

The report also states 500 traffic control devices were defaced or torn down in the past year.

“There’s a lot of signs that come up missing, and it’s a huge issue,” Perry said. “If you don’t get it replaced in a timely manner and something happens, you could have a liability.”

McLennan County roads by the numbers

*All-weather, caliche or limestone

Source: McLennan County Commissioners Court

Unknown field 1 Road count Paved miles Other miles* Total miles Overall condition Maintenance request (FY17) Traffic devices defaced/stolen
Precinct 1 216 186.96 51.53 238.49 Fair $850,000 257
Precinct 2 220 127.86 83.74 211.6 Passable $1.49 million 0
Precinct 3 255 183.46 52.52 235.98 Passable $2.61 million 157
Precinct 4 401 354.4 40 394.4 Good $1.26 million 500

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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