City May Use Eminent Domain to Move Forward with a Bridge Proje - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

BELTON

City May Use Eminent Domain to Move Forward with a Bridge Project

TEMPLE, TX (KXXV) - The city of Belton may use its power of eminent domain to move forward with a controversial bridge replacement project.

The city council approved the measure 5-1 on Tuesday. It would be used as a last resort, if the city is not able to reach an agreement with property owners.

The city still needs to acquire a couple pieces of frontage property to have the right of way to build a two-lane bridge on Toll Bridge Road.

Two property owners have reached an agreement with the city, but two more still need to sign on.

If it cannot reach an agreement with those owners, it will go to a hearing to determine the price of the property.

Currently, those parcels are estimated to cost less than $10,000 each.

The City of Belton and TxDOT signed an agreement in 2013 to replace a one-lane bridge over the Lampasas River that collapsed in 2006.

TxDOT will pay for 90 percent of the construction costs. The City of Belton will cover the cost of the land for right of way.

Belton City Spokesman Paul Romer said the project would create an additional north to south route in a growing area. It would also give emergency personnel a secondary road to respond to calls faster.

"It's unusual for us to go to hearing on properties like this. We believe that is can still be avoided and that is our hope right now,” said Romer.

Last year, one of the property owners who did not reach an agreement to sell his land, led a petition drive to oppose the project.

He said then, residents did not want to see additional traffic on that rural road.

News Channel 25 knocked on his door on Tuesday, but he was not home.

The construction is expected to begin this December.

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