Community to celebrate Kingsland bridge wrap up

Contributed/325 Internet
TXDoT is hosting a ceremonial grand opening of the RM 2900 Bridge at 2 p.m. May 24 in Kingsland. The structure, which was washed away during the October flood, will soon be open to vehicle traffic following a fast-tracked schedule for completion.

 

 

 

 

By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham knows a thing or two about bureaucratic red tape.

I did federal contracting for close to 17 years. Federal contracting is the 'spinning up' of getting something done, getting RFPs (request for proposals), all the specifications, engineering and architectural designs and environmental studies,” Judge Ron Cunningham said. “Usually that, in itself, is a seventh-month process.”

So the fact that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) rebuilt a flood-swept RM 2900 bridge in just seven months speaks volumes about the speed and efficiency the state entity demonstrated in getting the structure done in time for a Friday, March 24 opening ceremony.

It's very critical,” Cunningham said. “From a school perspective, there were students before the October flood who were (traveling) from five to 10 minutes from an elementary school, and with the bridge out it would take them anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get to school.”

And then there were all those residents on the Sunrise Beach side who were separated from something as simple as fire and EMS,” he added.

On Oct. 16, historic flooding from the Llano River washed away the 49-year-old bridge in Kingsland.

TxDOT launched into action, hired a contractor almost immediately and proceeded to rebuild the structure. The construction cost totaled approximately $17.3 million.

At first, the initial deadline goal of six months became hampered by the sheer volume of debris – including pieces of the old bridge – that had to be removed from the waterway.

We did not anticipate the obstructions we were going to encounter while we were drilling the shafts – the amount of debris under the surface,” TxDOT spokeswoman Diann Hodges said. “Where we could drill through things we did, where we couldn't, those objects had to be out of the water.”

Despite the additional time needed following the Nov. 9 groundbreaking, the completed engineering, design and additional amenities proved to be notable.

The new structure includes two 12-feet-wide travel lanes; two six-feet-wide shoulders; and a six-feet-wide pedestrian walkway. The “perched” center of the bridge is five-feet taller in the center “to allow floodwaters to go through.” . . .

To unveil the completed structure, an upcoming public grand opening ceremony for the structure is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, May 24 in the middle of the new bridge in Llano County. . . .

Find more on this story in the Tuesday, May 21 issue of The Highlander, the newspaper of record for the Highland Lakes. To offer a comment or news tip, email connie@highlandernews.com.

 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet