Travis County pauses plans for controversial bridge over low water crossing

Some 50 residents wearing red t-shirts with the words u201cDonu2019t Bridge Our Great Divide Driveu201d attended a Feb. 5 Travis County Commissioners Court meeting.

Some 50 residents wearing red t-shirts with the words u201cDonu2019t Bridge Our Great Divide Driveu201d attended a Feb. 5 Travis County Commissioners Court meeting.

Image description
Rendering Great Divide
Plans to address a low water crossing on Great Divide Drive could soon change hands.

Travis County Commissioners were expected to vote Tuesday on a proposed bridge over the low water crossing. However, following the city of Bee Cave’s Jan. 28 vote to pursue annexation of the property, county commissioners instead opted not to move forward with the project.

"We probably won't bring it back," said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty. "Bee Cave is [likely] going to annex this low water crossing. After that, [the future of the low water crossing] will be up to them."

Some 50 residents of the Homestead neighborhood, wearing red t-shirts with the words “Don’t Bridge Our Great Divide Drive,” attended Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting. Thirty-eight individuals—including residents in red, Bee Cave officials and others—shared public testimony.

Several residents said they want the city of Bee Cave to determine a solution to the low water crossing in their neighborhood.

“This tiny stretch of county road is surrounded by miles of Bee Cave jurisdiction,” said 15-year Homestead resident Jennifer Walker. “[It’s] a local issue. Annexation lets the city of Bee Cave deal with this.”


The Great Divide low water crossing 


County plans called for a bridge between 510 and 570 feet in length. The structure was proposed to include two 2-foot shoulders, two 12-foot lanes and one 5-foot sidewalk.

County voters approved funding for the bridge in a $185 million 2017 bond package. The project’s cost—currently estimated at $6.2 million—is not final. Since passage of the bond, the county has updated design recommendations for bridges, detention ponds and other drainage structures, based on new rainfall data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's unclear at this time where the funds will go if Bee Cave annexes the property and the county does not move forward with the project.

Residents weigh in


In January, Daugherty issued a survey to Homestead residents. The survey asked one question: Do households support or not support a bridge recommended by Travis County attorneys, engineers and staff?

“I wanted to try to respond to the overwhelming number of [opinions] whether that be to build the bridge or not build the bridge," Daugherty said. "I’ve known for years now just how controversial this subject can be.”

Just over 83 percent of Homestead residents participated in the survey, and of those respondents around 78 percent said they do not support the bridge as currently recommended by the county, Daugherty said.

“What you’ve seen this morning and is proven by Commissioner Daugherty’s survey is that the vast majority of people don’t want the bridge," said 36-year Homestead resident Rick Scadden. "Please cooperate with the city of Bee Cave to allow them to proceed with annexation of the property.”
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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