The measure passed unanimously by council after about two hours of discussion and public participation from residents of the nearby The Homestead neighborhood. Many residents said they thought the council was rushing a decision and were against building a bridge without knowing how it specifically would appear at the spot where a low-water crossing currently sits.
The council action allows design of the bridge’s appearance to include future public input through open house discussions.
“We still have a ways to go,” Mayor Kara King said shortly before the council vote.
Following council action, city staff will seek designs for what the city’s engineering consultant, Saxon Loomis Consulting Group, termed a 10-year bridge, according to a presentation given to council members.
Such a bridge, estimated in engineering documents to cost $1.77 million, would have the capacity to handle water flow rates generated by a 10-year storm. Such a storm likely occurred in the Great Divide area, flooding the roadway, a total of 17 times in the past 78 years, according to Saxon Loomis models.
The issue of what to do about the low-water crossing at Great Divide, leading into The Homestead neighborhood, has been discussed for many years. In 2017, Travis County presented a $4.2 million bridge design that was opposed by nearby residents because of its size, estimated at a previous council meeting to be as long as 500 feet.
The city of Bee Cave’s direct involvement with the low-water crossing began in June 2019 with the entering of an interlocal agreement between the city and Travis County. Now that council has accepted a formal recommendation on the bridge's design, the city has six months to hire an engineer to design the bridge's construction.