By Alicia Lacy
The Cove Herald
After working nearly two years on the Arrowhead Road bridge project, the Coryell County Commissioners Court awarded a bid for the construction of the bridge during their meeting Monday morning.
Monday's heavy downpour was a sign of the significance of the expeditious construction of the bridge on Arrowhead Road at a creek crossing site in the Big Valley subdivision in Copperas Cove with regard to public safety.
After the court opened bids last week and were given time to assess the two, the court awarded Ellis-McGinnis Construction Company in Eddy the bid for $231,212.80.
During the spring of 2007, Copperas Cove experienced severe flooding, and, in May, ravaging flood waters claimed the lives of Jesse Scott Hornsby, 75, and his wife, Gloria Evelyn Hornsby, 73, near the Big Valley subdivision.
The couple was traveling to their home in Big Valley in their white Dodge Caravan when their vehicle veered off the road. The van flipped more than 180 degrees, crossing the creek in the process.
The Hornsbys' bodies were found nearly a mile down the road from where their vehicle was located.
As a result, the county applied for a grant through the state's Office of Rural and Community Affairs to have an all-weather bridge built at the Arrowhead site.
In November 2007, the grant application was approved, but since then, the county has been waiting for hydrology reports, environmental reports and a design for
the proposed bridge.
Mike McGinnis, owner of Ellis-McGinnis, said he anticipates the construction to begin in four to five weeks.
"I have to get with the county and see what their schedule is as far as paperwork," he said. "The project will be completed within about seven or eight weeks."
In addition to safety concerns regarding the Arrowhead Road bridge, the court discussed meeting safety goals, while maintaining the historic character of Oglesby Neff Park Road.
Oglesby Neff Park Road, also known as County Road 314, is a six-mile road built in 1939. The Texas State Highway Department constructed the road using allocated federal funds, but the agreement was for the county to be charged with maintaining it.
The road follows the Leon River for much of its length from the west entrance of Mother Neff State Park to Farm-to-Market Road 107.
County Judge John Firth said, "My concern is that we have a responsibility for safety as well as obviously ensuring the Antiquities Act is properly respected."
"Our concern is there have been trees that have grown there since the '30s that have caused real safety issues along that road. We have at least one death that I know of," Firth said. "We have a balance here between historic preservation and safety. The action we were trying to take was to take down these hackberry trees."
No action was taken on the issue because representatives from the Texas Historical Commission were unable to attend due to the rainy