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Temporary easement secured for emergency vehicles during Smith County road closure

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Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Emergency vehicles will have access to a temporary easement during the temporary closure of County Road 285 in Smith County, according to the county’s road engineer.

County Road 285, better known as Old Omen Road, will be closed until early August as crews work to replace a narrow bridge. As previously reported, the closure has resulted in a lengthy detour that takes drivers around Lake Tyler to access homes and businesses on the east side of the lake.

Map showing the closure and detour.
Map showing the closure and detour.(Smith County)

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Smith County Commissioners Court, road engineer Frank Davis said a piece of private property between Lake Meadow Road and Tucson Oaks Road can be used by emergency vehicles during the road closure. Emergency crews will use a key to unlock a gate between the two roads when needed.

This is the same easement residents were hoping to use during the closure, but Davis said the property owners had concerns that prevented them from reaching an agreement. The agreement reached for emergency responders was made through the Smith County Emergency Services District, according to Davis.

“Smith County has never obtained or owned that property,” Davis said in commissioners court. “So we’ve never had the right to cross that and make that connection.”

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, a U.S. Postal Service worker explained how the closure is affecting mail carriers in the area.

“By our calculations there’s going to be 421 people affected by this, and it could cause delays in the delivery of their mail,” said Greg Jenkins.

Jenkins said the inconvenience could be avoided if they too could secure the easement between Lake Meadow Road and Tucson Oaks Road. Davis agreed in court to pass along the contact information used by the ESD to Jenkins in an attempt to secure the easement for mail carriers.

The construction project is part of the Smith County Road and Bridge Bond Program, and is expected to be completed before the start of school. Davis previously said they chose to do the work this summer because three school districts serve the area affected.

RELATED:

+ Smith County road near Lake Tyler set to be closed for bridge replacement

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