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Posts published in “Day: March 5, 2020

New IH-10 bridge over San Jacinto River may affect Waste Pits removal

TxDOT engineers have said that the bridge design will be segmented, similar to this design of IH-10 over the Trinity River. The center span is 450 feet, so that support columns do not need to be in the river.

By Gilbert Hoffman

HARRIS COUNTY – Although in early stages of planning and design, engineers with TxDOT have begun to talk about the design and schedule for a replacement bridge over the San Jacinto River. With 4 to 6 lanes in each direction and no supporting columns in the river, it would be a vast improvement over the current situation. However, authorities and environmentalists are concerned that construction of a new bridge might interfere with the planned removal of the toxic wastes in the Superfund Sits in the river. Workers on either project could be exposed to dangerous toxic waste, and would require special protective procedures. Planners for the EPA are also taking into consideration that work might take place during hurricane season, limiting the schedule to safe months. This might also be a consideration for the bridge construction.

Preliminary details of the design were discussed at a meeting in November with the Economic Alliance, and additional information was learned by this newspaper from TxDOT engineers. TxDOT is currently conducting a PEL or Planning and Environmental Linkage study of the IH-10 corridor, including the bridge. The study includes the corridor as it passes through Houston, Jacinto City, Channelview, Baytown, and Mont Belvieu. A PEL study is a high-level, early planning study process that represents an approach to transportation decision making that considers environmental, community and economic goals early in the planning stage. It involves public meetings with feedback from the public and interested parties, as well as engineering studies.

Normally a new bridge as contemplated would take 5 to 10 years for design and construction, but TxDOT indicates that due to the critical nature of this corridor, and the continued threat of damage from barge traffic and storms, the schedule may be condensed to 3 to 5 years.

This short schedule puts the construction activity into the area at the same time as the EPA plans to remove the toxic Waste Pits from the North and South sides of the bridge. TxDOT said they are aware of this problem and taking it into consideration. Also being studied is how the expanded highway, at a higher elevation, would join with existing roads on the east and west banks. They are especially concerned about the intersection with Crosby-Lynchburg Road, and Highway 330, they said.

Water Main break affects city of Houston

The broken water main pipe is under repair along Clinton Drive near the East Loop and Galena Park.

By Gilbert Hoffman

Schools, businesses and public events were closed last Friday, due to a water main break on the east side of Houston in a line that fed about half the city. Houston ISD schools, colleges and many businesses were also closed, or events cancelled, as a precaution against contaminated water or low water pressure. The City of Houston issued a “Boil Water” notice for most of the city.

Water districts on the East side of the county, including Crosby, Highlands, and Baytown, did not experience any pressure or supply problems. Crosby gets its water directly from Lake Houston.

A 96 inch wide water main, carrying water from the Houston water treatment plant in Galena Park to about half the city, burst on Thursday about noon. Workers from Harper Brothers were performing repair work on a small leak, according to authorities, when the whole pipe burst open flooding nearby streets and the six lane East Loop under Clinton Drive. Several feet of water covered the streets, stopping traffic and flooding about a dozen cars. Houston Fire Department said they conducted three deep water rescues. The location of the burst pipe was near the intersection of Clinton Drive and N. Carolina streets in the Clinton Park neighborhood, and buildings in that area had water inside, as outside it was several feet deep.

Election hits incumbents

Ryan out; Diaz, Eagleton in Run-offs

By Lewis Spearman

HOUSTON – The primary election brought a number of surprises on the Democratic ticket. County Attorney Vince Ryan was defeated by challenger Chris Menefee. Ryan could only muster 25% of the votes, and Menefee avoided a run-off with 50.45%.

Several other upsets occurred, with Pct. 2 Constable Chris Diaz facing a run-off with Jerry Garcia, and Pct. 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton in a run-off with Ken Jones, his former boss. Diaz had only 34.7% of the vote, Garcia got 39%. Eagleton received 47.44, Ken Jones got 16%.

In the Presidential race in Texas, Donald Trump commanded 93.94% of Republican votes, Joe Biden took 33.6% Democrat votes, Bernie Sanders 30% Mike Bloomberg had 14.7% and Elizabeth Warren also ran for 11.6%.

How to clean to avoid the corona virus

With our nation’s top docs now alerting local businesses and schools to prepare for a potential coronavirus crisis, local companies are scrambling to disinfect their workspaces the right way to keep employees and customers safe. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now urging U.S. businesses to vigorously and routinely wipe down workplace surfaces to contain the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

Tips to keep your place germ free

One-Way Wipe Down – Wipe down a surface in one direction and don’t go back over it in the opposite direction because you will deposit germs you just cleaned up. Routinely wipe down all frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops and don’t forget doorknobs.


Scott and wife Melody Stephens stand outside the Pennsylvania Senate with a photograph of Cody Stephens hoping that their testimony reached the ears of lawmakers deciding what to do about sudden death among student athletes.

Quest to save lives with ECG in 7 states

CROSBY – What began here as a quest to see if sudden death of young athletes could be stemmed by ECG screening has become a national issue with seven states currently undertaking bills much like the Cody Bill HB76 having passed the Texas Legislature last year.

After five years of effort, surprisingly with significant elements of the Medical community opposing it, Texas passed the Cody Bill enabling parents of first year athletes to opt into an Electrocardiogram screening to check their athlete’s heart for anomalies before the athlete takes to the field. Previously, annually sudden death from heart attack was generally an annual event somewhere in the state.

The Cody Bill finally passed the Texas House unanimously Stephens acknowledged the work from Rep. Dan Huberty, lobbyist Kathy Grant, everyone who testified at the Public Education Committee hearing and all who wrote letters to representatives to vote in favor of HB76. The bill passed the Texas Senate on May 20 by a vote of 20-11.

Stephens then said, “It has been seven years and two weeks to the day since Cody died in my easy chair for what we would later discover was unnecessary. So, my wife, Melanie and I said let’s give this thing seven years to get passed while we show them that screenings can be done all over the state without excessive spending and save some young lives.

Embroiled in Embroidery

Danna displays one of the caps that she has just embroidered on the Multi-Head machine behind her. On the table are caps that are part of her largest order, for 5000 embroidered caps for a local school.

NORTH CHANNEL – Danna Niño has known the embroidery trade all her life. Her father David Urbantke had his own shop, after working for another large firm, and Danna was there with part-time chores as she grew up.

So it was natural that when she wanted to start her own business last year, it would be in a skill she was familiar with.

Her shop, Phase 3, is well equipped for any project, with 3 high speed embroidery machines, and a Laser engraving machine that can put images and names on almost anything, especially 3 dimensional items such as cups, trophies, and so on.