PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 29, 2012

Port Arthur raises school zone speed on 9th Avenue

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Those passing through Port Arthur along 9th Avenue in front of Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Elementary School and Memorial High School would be able to drive a little bit faster in the coming weeks. But don’t speed just yet.

The Port Arthur City Council passed an ordinance at its Tuesday night meeting that would raise the speed limit to 35 mph throughout the school zone on 9th Avenue. The school zone speed limit was established at 20 mph.

The Texas Department of Transportation does not recommend setting a school zone speed limit above 35 mph in rural or urban areas, according to its state highway speed zone manual.

The Port Arthur Police Department advised the council to raise the speed limit in order to alleviate the flow of traffic along 9th Avenue during the mornings and afternoons, said Chief of Police Mark Blanton.

The school zone is effective during the hours of 7:30-9:30 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m. on school days.

Blanton said the department met with the school district and Deputy Superintendent Mark Porterie about possibly raising the school zone speed limit. Neither the school district nor the police department believed there was enough foot traffic coming and going from Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Elementary to deter the increase in speed, he said.

The ordinance must be published in the News at least once within 10 days after the ordinance passed Nov. 27, and it would be effective immediately after the date of publication, according to the ordinance.

Traffic may be changing along 46th Street and state Highway 73, as well, with the drilling of a newly approved oil well.

The City Council approved a resolution Tuesday, permitting the drilling of an oil well between Central Baptist Church and FivePoint Credit Union on Highway 73. Tri-C Resources Inc., a Houston-based oil and gas exploration company, would construct and drill the well.

Tri-C Resources would drill the well about 11,800 feet below ground, but the bottom of the well would be about 200 feet from the Walmart on Twin City Highway. Central Baptist owns the property on which the drilling site sits.

But Central Baptist would not be the only entity benefiting from this exploratory well. The city stands to benefit from any discovery of oil on the site, for it owns mineral rights for that patch of land, said Benjamin Balagia, representative from Tri-C Resources, during a Nov. 9 public hearing.

The estimated drilling time is about 30 days, Balagia said. And Tri-C Resources has met all of the requirements established by Chapter 66 of the city’s code of ordinances, according to the drilling permit ordinance. The company posted two surety bonds for $25,000 and $450,000 as part of a heavy haul permit in case 46th Street is damaged as a result of the construction of the well.

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum