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Orange County Vessel Turn-in Program Begins April 6

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In an initiative aimed at curbing the abandonment of derelict boats and enhancing environmental stewardship, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) is once again launching its annual Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP). This statewide effort encourages owners of inoperable or unwanted boats to responsibly dispose of them at no cost, with several events planned across the state, including in Orange County.

The upcoming VTIP event in Orange County is scheduled for April 6, 9, 11, and 13, 2024, running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, as announced by the Texas GLO. Boat owners are invited to bring their “derelict or inoperable” vessels to the designated collection station at 11265 FM 1442 in Orange County. From there, the county will oversee the transportation of the boats to disposal sites, while the GLO will handle the removal of all hazardous materials, including fuel, oil, and batteries, from the boats.

To participate in the program, boat owners must ensure their vessels are free of waste, debris, and trash prior to drop-off. Additionally, they are required to provide verification of ownership, a Release of Interest and Ownership form, and confirm that the boat’s title is clear of any loans, liens, or taxes. Importantly, owners are responsible for transporting their own boats to the turn-in site. Boats exceeding the 26-foot length restriction may still be considered for disposal on a case-by-case basis, and owners of such vessels are encouraged to contact the GLO at (409) 727-7481 for more information.

Since its inception in 2015, the VTIP has hosted 39 events across various Texas coastal counties, resulting in the turn-in of 1,562 “derelict and inoperable boats.” Collectively, these boats measure over 25,394 linear feet, equivalent to the length of more than 70 football fields. The program not only facilitates the removal of unsightly and potentially hazardous vessels but also recovers significant quantities of fuel for safe disposal. For instance, the 2023 event in Orange County saw the turn-in of 113 boats, totaling 1,173 linear feet, and the recovery of 143 gallons of fuel. In a similar event in Jefferson County in May 2022, nine boats were turned in, totaling 156 linear feet, with 40 gallons of fuel recovered.

The GLO emphasizes that abandoning a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled boat in coastal waters, or on public or private land, is illegal in Texas. Through the VTIP, the GLO offers a lawful and environmentally responsible alternative for disposing of such vessels, underscoring the state’s commitment to its coastal ecosystems and maritime heritage.

West Orange Announces Spring Cleanup April 5-6

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West Orange Schedules Spring Cleanup

The city of West Orange has scheduled a spring cleanup for April 5-6, 2024, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Dumpsters will be available behind the West Orange Fire Station for use by West Orange residents only between 9 AM and 3 PM each day of the Spring Cleanup. Proof of residency and photo ID will be required at the drop site.

No hazardous materials, tires, batteries, paint, etc. will be accepted. Normal household waste will not be accepted. Any items containing Freon must be drained of Freon and tagged by an individual certified to do that type of work.

Appliances, furniture, metals, and green waste will be accepted but must be brought to the drop site. The City will be unable to make any arrangements for special pickups.

For more info, contact West Orange City Hall at (409) 883-4552.

I-10 Reconstruction Announced for Orange County

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In an effort to facilitate ongoing improvements and enhance road safety, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has announced a significant temporary closure along Interstate 10 that will affect many drivers in the region. As part of a broader initiative to reconstruct and widen the main lanes of the interstate, a key eastbound entrance ramp just east of Texas 87 will be shuttered starting April 1, 2024, with plans to reopen later in the summer.

TxDOT officials have laid out alternative routes for travelers affected by the closure. Motorists journeying northbound on 87 from Orange aiming to access I-10 eastbound will be rerouted via a well-marked detour. This detour involves using the I-10 westbound frontage road, executing a turnaround west of Texas 87, and then merging onto the I-10 entrance ramp. Similarly, those heading southbound on 87 from Mauriceville with the intention of joining I-10 eastbound will follow an identical detour path.

Furthermore, drivers already on the I-10 eastbound frontage road will be directed to continue eastward to Simmons Drive, where they’ll be able to execute a turnaround. Subsequently, they will proceed westbound on the frontage road to the turnaround west of 87, enabling access to the entrance ramp onto I-10.

TxDOT’s Public Information Officer, Tanya Avila, emphasized that this temporary closure is a critical component of the department’s Main Lane Reconstruction and Widening Project. The project aims to enhance the infrastructure and safety of one of the state’s busiest highways, ensuring it can accommodate the growing volume of traffic and improve overall travel conditions for all road users.

Motorists are advised to plan their routes in advance and allow extra time for travel due to potential delays resulting from the detours. TxDOT assures the public that these temporary inconveniences are in service of long-term improvements that will benefit the community by providing a safer and more efficient transportation network.

City of Vidor Schedules Autism Awareness Resource Event

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The City of Vidor is hosting the First Annual Autism Awareness Resource Event on Thursday, March 28, 2024, from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM at the Vidor City Hall, 1395 N. Main St. in Vidor.

Information will be available regarding autism resources and services in the area. Representatives from local agencies and citizens who have experience navigating these challenges will be available to answer questions. Refreshments will be provided.

Upcoming Rainbow Bridge Closure Announced

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TxDOT has announced an upcoming project involving the Rainbow Bridge that is expected to take more than 18 months to complete.

Beginning in the summer or fall of 2024, the Rainbow Bridge will be closed, and all traffic coming to and from Bridge City will go over the Veterans Bridge. TxDOT says the Veterans Bridge will be changed to handle two lanes of traffic each way.

TXDOT proposes lowering the speed limit to 50mph with an advisory speed of 20mph for westbound traffic at the S-curve, transitioning traffic back to the original westbound lanes on the west side of the bridge.

The westbound S-curve cannot be straightened due to environmental concerns.

Eight traffic cameras will be installed along the Veterans Memorial Bridge at the beginning of the project. At a later date, communication will be sent out about how to access these.

TxDOT did not say exactly what will be done to the Rainbow Bridge.

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