In 1948, the residents of Bell County adopted what is called "The Optional Road Law of 1947." (Article 6716-1 Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes). The first engineer was hired in 1954 and his duties were limited to writing specifications, drawing up plans, estimates, inventories, surveying, etc. The Commissioners still retained direct supervision of the County's road and bridge employees. In the early 1960's, the County created two crews that operated County-wide. These were the Bridge and Asphalt Crews. Both of these crews required specialized personnel and equipment and could be more efficiently utilized on a County-wide basis. By 1980, these two crews had been joined by a Gradall crew, and the Engineer had been given authority to hire all personnel, perform road planning, keep records and implement the Commissioners' Court approved Work Plan. Daily supervision of all work activities was also delegated to the Engineer. However, there were still four (4) Precinct Crews, operating out of facilities scattered throughout the County. In 1982, the Engineer and Commissioners' Court, with the cooperation of the Road and Bridge employees, reorganized into the organization we have today (with minor changes). Employees still reported to one of seven "barns."
The County Engineer and Centralized Road & Bridge Department Today
In 2012, the County Engineer's Office is authorized eight (8) personnel; the Road & Bridge Department, 82 personnel (see organizational chart). All Road & Bridge employees report to one, centralized location at 702 W. Avenue O, in Belton. We are responsible for the maintenance of approximately 900 miles of road and 146 bridge-sized structures. The Engineer's Office is also responsible for processing all work orders; engineering and identification of road right of ways for projects; subdivision plat review and inspection of improvements; administration of the Flood Plain Management program; the Storm Water Management Program; and utility installation permits and inspections. In conjunction with the Commissioners' Court, the Annual Work Plan is developed and approved.