Travis County pauses plans for controversial bridge over low water crossing

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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.”

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  1. Good win for Bee Cave. They finally annexed land they should have years ago because this bond bridge pushed them to actually do something and they actually had an opposition team that was well prepared and pushed the anti bridge group into action . Too bad the folks in the Homestead don’t realize that the city won’t improve the crossing after the annexation. Mayor Goodwin and Mayor Pro Tem Lowman won’t spend money since they’ve been on record as not wanting any improvements and some guy claiming to be the mayor that was for a county bridge in Dec until his secret email to the Commissioner Court leaked folded and didn’t stand up for himself. That poor guy has no credibility at this point and should just resign.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the upcoming months. The EMS access that’s being negotiated will bring the development the Homestead has been fearing for years. It’s a simple concept to negotiate to allow for EMS vehicles but will take longer than the city expects because Mockford is going to cut a deal with Spanish Oaks. Mockford gets an egress through Spanish Oaks and the Homestead while the city pays for it. Then he cuts up his land for development. Or sells to Spanish Oaks. And then Spanish Oaks puts up a massive hotel since Mockford’s property is gorgeous. Talk about irony.

    And for all those that think a small bridge is coming don’t hold your breath. The city can easily annex the land, negotiate an EMS access and start the bridge process all at once. They already have access to an $800,000 preliminary engineering report to use so why not start improvements? It’s got all the options needed for the city council to put forward to the design stage so let’s see how slow they drag their feet on this.

  2. * Gasp,*Gulp,* Slowly inhale,*Cheese*. Punctuation. Simple sentences, with one coherent thought expressed in each. Then this >might< make sense. Otherwise, it leaked folded and didn't stand up for itself.

    • It’s the internet Gustave. You have to write towards the lowest common denominator and write short and precise sentences. Otherwise, you’d be even more confused. You stated nothing and offered no opinion showing your lack of knowledge of the subject or just plain lack of of an education.

  3. Carrell Killebrew

    “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.”

    This is a bit misleading. Voters approved up to $4.1M in funding for a bridge, not $6.2M. The additional $2.1M for the current estimate would come out of the County’s Certificates of Obligation, moneys that the County has some discretion in spending. That is $2.1M taken away from other needs the citizens might prefer to address.

    • This $6.2 million is like a bad game of telephone. The Miller Gray report opines that a 500 year option would cost $3.6 for construction.

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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