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Economic Development


Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

I-20 bridge at Salt Draw opens ahead of schedule


Staff Writer

Work on repairing the Interstate 20 bridges damaged by flooding two months ago is running ahead of schedule, and completion of the $3.65 million project is now expected to be completed before the end of June.

“They are making terrific time on that job,” said Glen Larum, Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer for the Odessa District. A new eastbound bridge across Salt Draw was opened to traffic last week, and work is now underway to demolish and then replace the westbound bridge over the draw.

Flooding from two days of heavy rains collapsed a levee on the northwest side of Toyah in the morning hours of April 4; sending floodwater into over two dozen homes in that city. The water from that flood would continue down San Martine Draw to Salt Draw, eventually causing the collapse of the eastbound lanes of I-20 about 17 hours after the initial levee break.

Traffic was detoured off I-20 for 11 days, forcing Toyah residents into a 25-mile detour into Pecos, until the surviving westbound bridge could be shored up for two-way traffic use. In late April, TxDOT signed a contract with Gilbert Texas of Fort Worth to repair the bridges.

“When that job was bid out, the bid was to finish in 66 days, while the other bids came in at 102 and 120 days,” Larum said. “This bridge crew from Gilbert Texas is the ‘A’ crew. They think they can finish in 54 days, which would be 10 days before the first of July.”

Gilbert began work on the eastbound bridge at the end of April, and Larum said the new deck to replace the two collapsed sections was poured on May 17. The rails for the new deck were installed last week and the bridge reopened to traffic on May 26.

“They immediately went to work demolishing the center span of the westbound bridge, and taking down the column supports that Jones Brothers (Construction) reinforced,” Larum said.  Between 150 and 200 feet of the westbound bridge is due for replacement.

Other recent bridge replacement projects in the Pecos area, including the Business I-20 long bridge between Pecos and Barstow and the U.S. 285 bridge over Toyah Lake, have taking from eight to 11 months to complete. “If they keep to the same schedule they’ve been working at, they should be done 10 days before deadline,” Larum said.  “I think being able to rebuild a bridge like that in a month is really remarkable.”

The bridge repair project is one of three major projects along Interstate 20 in the Pecos area. Work is underway near Barstow on the second section of I-20 in Ward County to be resurfaced, while crews have stripped the top surface off the Interstate just west of Pecos, in preparation for the start of resurfacing that section of highway.

“There’s about 30 miles of I-20 under construction right now,” Larum said. Because of the work, speed restrictions and lane closures in the area will be common throughout the late spring and summer. “We always wish we didn’t have to do this, but it’s something we have to get done.”

Shrimp Fest short of teams, but attendance remains good




Staff Writers

The cook-off contest portion of the Balmorhea Shrimp Festival was short of contestants this year, but other than that the Memorial Day weekend event went very well, according to organizers.

According to cook-off chairman Michael Peacock, the competition was canceled due to a lack of participants.  “We had the team made up of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Saucedo from Fort Stockton show up on time, but two other teams arrived too late for entry.”

Peacock added that the Saucedo’s went ahead an cooked their special shrimp gumbo, which was “excellent,” but said that he was a little disappointed that the remaining two teams didn’t arrive in time.

“I think with the graduations and everything, there was just too much going on,” Peacock said.  “People just couldn’t get it together in time.”

Kelly Rowden, with Permian Sea Shrimp of Imperial, said the contest usually had attracted between six and eight entries during its first three years. Heavy rains that hit last year’s festival may also have contributed to the lower turnout this time around.

Peacock said that the cookers that were to be given away as prizes would be held until the fall, when a second festival is being planned sometime before the start of school.

 Rowden and his crew of nine workers had their own tent set up next to the canal in downtown Balmorhea to sell shrimp on Saturday, one of about a dozen food and gift vendors who participated in this year’s event.

“When we get ready for the dance it will pick up a bit,” Rowden said Saturday afternoon. “We’ve already sold quite a bit of shrimp, and we sold more frozen shrimp this year.”

Permian Sea Shrimp was also selling shrimp kabobs and shrimp wraps, with cream cheesed-stuffed jalapeńos wrapped in bacon, to attendees at the Shrimp Festival.

Peacock said the overall turnout for this past weekend was about normal, even if the number of teams cooking was lower than in the past.

“Other than that the festival went really well.  We had a good turnout throughout the day, and a crowd of around 600-700 people for the street dance Saturday night,” Peacock said.  “The band was really good and ended up ending around 12:30 a.m.”

“Festival organizers, Pat Brijalba and Norman Roman, did a real good job putting the festival together, and the festival had an excellent group of sponsors who we owe a lot of thanks to,” Peacock said.  I

Included in Saturday’s list of sponsor are: CarQuest, Peggy Walker with Needleworks, Reeves County Feed, T3 Farms in Balmorhea, A1 Motors, Western Package, Grady’s Western Supply, I-10 Fina, Circle Bar in Balmorhea, Travis and Kimberly Johnson, Crider Dairy and A&B Tire.

City pool, miniature golf open for summer

It’s summertime and the Town of Pecos City has already come up with some great things for the youngsters to do during their summer vacation.

The city pool at Maxey Park opened for the summer this week, and will be open every day, except Monday, from 1:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Cost is $1 for 12 and under and $2 for youngsters and adults over the age of 12.

To rent the pool for a party, individuals are asked to call City Hall, at 445-2421.

The Miniature Golf Course located on the northeast side of Maxey Park is also open for the summer season. Hours are from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Cost to enter and play a round is $1 for everyone.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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