BRENHAM CITY COUNCIL SELECTS PREFERRED CONCEPT FOR HIGHWAY 290-36 IMPROVEMENTS

  
City Manager James Fisher discusses what the city should expect as TxDOT plans improvements to the Highway 290 cloverleaf interchange at Thursday's meeting of the Brenham City Council.

The Brenham City Council has given its recommendation for which improvement plan TxDOT should pursue for upgrades to the Highway 290-36 interchange.

After holding a workshop to review each of the five concepts shown by TxDOT, the council at its meeting this (Thursday) afternoon chose the revised Concept B: a direct connection placing new lanes for Highway 290 just south of the current interchange.  The concept, which was changed from its initial reveal in March 2019, was the same one favored by many during a workshop December 3rd with the council and Washington County Commissioners.

City Manager James Fisher said this concept was ultimately chosen because it had the least negative impact on the surrounding area.

 

 

Betty Thiel was recognized by the Brenham City Council Thursday for 35 years of service in the city's library system.

The council’s recommendation also included a request for TxDOT to consider creating overpasses at North Berlin Road and at the railroad tracks for the frontage roads as part of the overall improvement project, if funding is available to do so.

Fisher gave an encouraging update relating to the funding of the project, saying that as this extension is considered part of a hurricane evacuation route, some of the costs the city faces could either be eliminated or reduced significantly.  That funding could then be used for infrastructure and signage enhancements associated with the improvements.

Fisher also shared some news that gave councilmembers pause: while funding has been allocated for the cloverleaf project, the funding itself is not necessarily set in stone.

 

 

Fisher noted that this concept is not a representation of the complete product, as TxDOT will fine-tune and finalize the concept over the next 12 to 18 months.  A transportation focus group, consisting of city and county representatives and business owners in the area, will be created to assist with recommendations for improvements.

Construction is expected to begin at the cloverleaf in 2026.  Fisher said he has been told by TxDOT that the proposed widening of Highway 290 from Chappell Hill to Hempstead will not begin until the cloverleaf project is completed.

Also in session today, the council:

  • Met in executive session to consult with the city attorney regarding pending litigation and claims: T. Hyde v. Washington County Sheriff's Department, City of Brenham and Brenham Police DepartmentD. Guyton v. City of Brenham, Texas, et al.; claims of R. Robinson alleged against the City of Brenham and additional persons and entities.  No action was taken.
  • Held a workshop to receive an update on the tax phase-in review process for 2020 and discuss plans in place for 2021. Brenham Economic Development Director Susan Cates said the Joint Compliance Committee for Tax Phase-In was unable to meet this spring due to COVID-19, but all companies with active tax phase-in agreements are in compliance.  Those are Blue Bell Creameries, Longwood Elastomers (2020 final year), Precision Polymer Engineering / GSL, Tempur Sealy, StanPac, Moser Community Media, D Bar B Sausage – also known as Kountry Boys Sausage, MIC East, MIC West, and Del Sol Foods.  Cates said there will be a full committee review of each agreement next year.
  • Approved the termination of the March 19th interlocal agreement between the city and county for economic development services, and the approval of a new agreement between the two effective January 1st. Commissioners approved the county’s half of the agreement at their meeting Tuesday.
  • Approved the purchase and installation of a restroom facility for the Henderson Park splash pad. The single-restroom facility, which will be handicap accessible and come with a baby-changing station but not air-conditioning, was purchased for $93,129 using $250,000 in funds from the Brenham Community Development Corporation (BCDC).
  • Approved the purchase of radio frequency identification solutions – FE Technologies Smart Bin for the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library for $10,625. Librarian Andria Heiges said the addition of an automated book return bin for the back-staff area will increase staff efficiencies and improve the self-service experience.
  • Approved the reappointment of nine members to serve on the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 1 Board of Directors for a period of two years beginning January 1st. The mayor and council were reappointed to places 1-7, while BCDC Board Member Gary Crocker and Main Street Board Member Tom Whitehead were reappointed to places 8 and 9, respectively.  Mayor Milton Tate was chosen to serve as chairman of the board for one year, starting January 1st.
  • Approved a resolution amending the policies and procedures for City of Brenham boards and commissions. Major changes include: Members of council are ineligible to serve on a board.  Term lengths for all boards are increased from two years to three years, with the exception of the Board of Adjustments and BCDC.  Consecutive years of service in any single board are limited to three terms before a one-year layoff is required.  The Fixed Base Operator will be ex officio member of the Airport Advisory Board.  Special training will be required for members of BCDC and the Planning & Zoning Commission.  The description of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Board is removed.  Brenham and Washington County have mutually agreed to transition this board to a tourism board.  The interlocal agreement relating to organization of the HOT board will be brought to Council in an upcoming meeting.
  • Approved recommendations for appointments and reappointments to various city boards and commissions.  Those can be seen in the council agenda packet here, starting on page 174 of the packet.
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One Comment

  1. Very glad they didn’t go with the “diverging diamond” like they have at 2818/60 in CS.
    It just occurred to me that any good feelings the state has about that intersection may be affected by the fact that countless travelers, like me, never use that intersection anymore.

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