During the Shenandoah City Council’s first meeting of 2019, the ongoing fiber internet project and improvements to the intersection of I-45 and Tamina Road/Research Forest Drive were just a few items of discussion.
All council members were present. To view the entire Jan. 9 meeting agenda, click here.
1. Tachus LLC President Hal Brumfield gave an update on the ongoing citywide fiber internet project.
The company began installing fiber conduit to single-family homes and city facilities in Shenandoah in early May 2018. The service provides speeds up to 1 gigabit per second with a minimum of 500 megabits per second for a monthly rate of $85 per household for Shenandoah residents.
“Currently, we are finished with [the neighborhoods of] Parkgate, Avalon Oaks, Dulcimer Woods, Shenandoah Valley, Silverwood, Silverwood Ranch Estates and Boulevard Green. Tuscany Woods will be finished by the end of this week and ready for install starting next week. We are finished with 95—probably 98 percent of the construction in Cantwell Forest, Marion [and] Lily. The remaining neighborhoods are Malaga and Reserve at Grogan’s Mill.”
Brumfield said Tachus had 191 total Shenandoah residents sign up for the fiber internet service as of Jan. 9, with 14 awaiting installation.
“For every 10 percent of the city we pick up, the rate reduces by $5,” Brumfield said. “My goal is to get 70 percent of the city at which time your rate will be $55 per month for 1 gigabit per second up and down. I wanted to give back to the city of Shenandoah—you guys have been great with us, and I wanted to try to make it a win-win-win for everyone involved.”
The council also considered an item amending the city’s contract with Tachus, which would allow Tachus to also offer 100 megabits per second service at a monthly rate of $65 for Shenandoah residents wanting an alternate option. City officials however opted to table the item to allow Tachus an opportunity to review the amended contract prior to a vote.
The item will return to council at the Jan. 23 meeting.
2. The council approved Bleyl Engineering to perform preliminary engineering work for a third lane extension on Tamina Road.
Public Works Director Joseph Peart said the project would extend the westbound, right-turn lane of Tamina Road, between David Memorial Drive and I-45.
“If you are aware of that intersection, it’s two lanes entering when you’re heading westbound on Tamina [Road] and you go through the David Memorial Drive intersection and then it immediately opens up to three,” Peart said. “So this [project] is to take out that corner which includes moving a signal arm and some electrical lines to get that third lane in there.”
The council unanimously approved preliminary engineering work at a cost of $23,690, contingent upon the Shenandoah Municipal Development District’s approval to fund the project.
“This is a project that MDD can and should fund and it’s one that I’ll be in favor of when it comes to MDD,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said. “I think it’s one that should go to MDD first and then come back to council.”
3. The council approved Bleyl Engineering to perform preliminary engineering work for major improvements to the I-45 and Tamina Road/Research Forest Drive intersection.
This project would add two lanes to Tamina Road/Research Forest Drive under the I-45 overpass, allowing for two thru lanes and two left-turn lanes, instead of one dual-purpose middle lane for both.
Derek Wind, a professional engineer with Bleyl Engineering, said the change would allow for much more flexibility as far as how the traffic signal can run.
“It did improve from an F to an F [level of service] so the intersection is a poor intersection, but at F to an F can still be a huge improvement,” Wind said. “An F is anything more than an 80 second wait for your travel times and right now, they’re at three- and four-minute waits. So we think this will be a lot of benefit.”
The council unanimously approved preliminary engineering work at a cost of $37,500, also contingent upon the MDD’s approval to fund the project. Wheeler said that while the entire project is estimated at $1.17 million, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack had previously agreed to fund half of the project, while the city will be responsible for the other half.
4. City Attorney Will Ferebee gave an update on the illegal damming of Carters Slough.
Beginning in May 2018, the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office, Municipal Utility District No. 95 and the Shenandoah City Council have been working to remove a dam on Carters Slough, which local officials claim was illegally construction sometime between April 2014 and May 2015 by Bullet Concrete Materials Inc. President Harold Denton Jr.
Local officials claim the dam on Carters Slough—a body of water located north of the Tamina community and east of the Union Pacific railroad tracks in unincorporated Montgomery County, has caused flooding in surrounding areas—like Shenandoah.
In September, Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved an order to file suit on a flood plain violation in regard to the illegal damn on Carters Slough. Local entities have since been working to address the issue.
“I’m pleased to report that Bleyl & Associates have completed—we got permission from Mr. Denton—and we have completed all of the survey work on Mr. Denton’s property and the property immediately surrounding it,” Ferebee said. “Because of the holidays and some other factors, MUD 95 had been reluctant to give us permission to survey its property but we now have gotten that permission and that survey work is being done.”
Wind said if the remaining survey work is able to be completed next week, weather permitting, he expects to be able to give council a report at the Feb. 13 meeting.