MCLENNAN COUNTY, TX — A bill that would provide $8.3 million in federal funding to a Speegleville Road bridge expansion project made its way into the Senate on Monday.
The bill, known as the "INVEST in America Act", provides funding for improvements for highways and other infrastructure across the country.
Mayor Dillion Meek and other city leaders works with Congressman Pete Sessions and his staff to get the Speegleville Rd. project included in the bill.
The bridge, which runs over the Middle Bosque River on Speegleville Road, is just north of River Valley Intermediate School. Principal Paul Offill says he has heard concerns from parents about traffic and the lack of sidewalks in the area.
"There's a concern about traffic in this area, and I know they worked on the road last year, a couple years ago, which helped a lot but there's still some concern about traffic patterns in this area and a lack of walking access," Offill said.
The school itself is currently under construction for an expansion that will convert it from a fifth and sixth grade school to a full middle school for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
"We're gonna be a middle school this time next year so we'll have three grades instead of two, so any more accessibility would be great for our parents and our students," Offill said.
The City of Waco says it agrees with concerns over traffic patterns and pedestrian access, which is why it was made a priority for federal funding opportunities.
"One, just reduce traffic congestion since the roadways on both sides of the bridges will be expanded--that bridge would become a pinchpoint there," said Ashley Nystrom, chief of staff. "And then also, a big priority for both the city and the county at that bridge was enhancing pedestrian protections and safety."
After the bill passed the House 221 - 201 on July 1, it was read in the Senate for the first time on Monday.