After a monthslong process that began in June with an interlocal agreement between the city of Bee Cave and Travis County, the low-water crossing on Great Divide Drive near the south Bee Cave neighborhood The Homestead is another step closer to becoming safer.

During the Dec. 10 Bee Cave City Council meeting, officials awarded a contract to conduct an engineering and planning study for the Great Divide Drive low-water crossing.

The specifics are not laid out yet, as part of the motion from council’s vote stated City Manager Clint Garza must still negotiate the contract with Saxon Loomis, which was selected among three qualifying submissions that included firms Freese and Nichols and Miller Gray.

The final selection came following the city’s Oct. 24 request for proposals that carried a submission deadline of 2 p.m. Dec. 2. Three council members and three city staff members made their selection Dec. 9, according to city information.

Garza said he anticipates negotiation of the contract to take a couple of weeks. From there, he said Saxon Loomis will start working on a recommendation for the low-water crossing, though there is no set deadline for that. Once Saxon Loomis submits its recommendation, council has 90 days to accept it. Once council accepts the recommendation, city officials then have six months to procure an engineering firm to get started with the project, Garza said.

The pursuit of a viable solution to the controversial low-water crossing has been an issue for Bee Cave residents for many years. Homestead residents have been requesting the city to annex the land containing the low-water crossing for several years, but it was the interlocal agreement between the city and Travis County brokered this May that eventually led to the annexation in September.

Travis County officials initially requested the agreement following disputes over the Little Barton Creek low-water crossing, which had been selected to receive funding from a 2017 $185 million county bond package. But many residents of the Homestead pleaded with Bee Cave officials to annex the county-owned crossing after disagreeing with the large-scale bridge county officials proposed for the site.

The interlocal agreement also saw Bee Cave de-annex areas within the construction limits of a future Vail Divide Drive extension that is between Hwy. 71 and Hamilton Pool Road, which it did during a special council meeting Aug. 15. Due to that move by the city, Travis County will help fund a bridge and roadway along Vail Divide Drive.