RAYMONDVILLE – Willacy County officials on Thursday heard a request to replace part of Los Patreros Road to keep increasing traffic away from two homes.
A.L. Smith requested that a parallel road be built to replace Los Potreros Road before Duke Energy begins construction of several wind turbines south of Smith’s home and a rental house he owns.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Dora Perez said Duke Energy is willing to build a new road because its trucks would make heavy use of the road during construction of wind turbines and its trucks would use it when maintaining the turbines.
“My concern here is that there is a country cemetery and I want to make sure that those relatives will always have access to the cemetery,” the commissioner said.
“Who would actually construct that road, and who would use that road, us or Duke Energy?” County Judge John F. Gonzales Jr. asked Perez.
Duke Energy representative Robert Peña said Smith contacted Duke about possible accidents and other problems that may arise with increased traffic on the county road close to his home.
“Duke wants to continue being a good neighbor to everyone in the county,” Peña said. “We are certainly taking (Smith’s) request into consideration. However before we get a little bit ahead of ourselves …”
Customers are now signed up to buy the wind-generated electricity, Peña said.
“We’ve received commitments from CPS Energy and Austin Energy to buy power from Duke,” he said. “We hope to be in construction in the spring of next year. We have commitments to provide this power to them by December of 2012. Yes, there would be somewhat of an increase of traffic in that area. What we don’t know yet is whether we’re going to be using Los Portreros Road or not.”
The layout of turbines, which hasn’t been completed, will decide which roads will be needed by Duke Energy, Peña said.
Smith said there have been break-ins and thefts at his home, and his children often use the area where the road is, so he would like to donate additional property for a new road. If Duke decides it does not want to use Los Potreros Road he will build a replacement section near his home at his own expense, he said.
He proposed a new section of Los Potreros Road along his home and a rental house to the south and installing gates on the old road next to his house and where the new section would connect to the old road at the entrance to the cemetery.
The county recently rebuilt Los Potreros Road, a caliche road, with federal disaster relief funds it received after Hurricane Dolly, Perez said.
Smith said he would hire a local farmer to build the new section of the road, if need be.
Gonzales said he will refer the matter to County Attorney Bernard Ammerman to research the issue.
Peña said Duke has questions about the county’s requirements for a new road.
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