ATHENS -- Henderson County Commissioners are in favor of a project to build a new bridge across Cedar Creek Lake between Gun Barrel City and Seven Points.
In February 2013 a delegation met with state Rep. Lance Gooden and Jim Pitts and TxDOT officials requesting relief on State Highway 334 bridges between Gun Barrel City and Seven Points. Randy C. Hopmann, Tyler District engineer for TxDOT requested that each of the Cedar Creek Lake towns and the commissioners court pass resolutions supporting the project.
"One of my main interests in this was if there was a major accident, blocking access to the hospital in Gun Barrel City," County Judge Richard Sanders said. "If anyone had to go around, it would be a 25 to 30 minute drive."
For decades two, two-lane bridges have connected the sides of the lake. The proposal calls for widening both bridges and making the road four lanes.
Commissioner Wade McKinney said the population of the county when the bridges were constructed was about 37,000, today it's nearly 80,000, with the most growth around Cedar Creek Lake.
"It is very evident around the weekends," McKinney said. "The support for this will help them begin to alleviate that."
Commissioner Ken Geeslin said Henderson County Emergency Management has been concerned about the possibility of having the bridge inaccessible in an emergency situation, such as a chemical spill that would require evacuation of a large number of people.
"This is not something that just came out of nowhere," Geeslin said. "This has been a concern for at least the past decade."