Feature Illustration: Concept rendering of the future bridge across the Colorado River by Wirtz Dam. Courtesy: Burnet County.
by Art Benavidez
Marble Falls (Burnet County)–Burnet County Commissioners Court entered into a contract for preliminary engineering of a bridge river crossing east of Wirtz Dam on Lake LBJ.
At its August 25 meeting, the Commissioners Court agreed to the contract with K.C. Engineering, out of Marble Falls, for the design of a bridge that is estimated to cost $20 million to $30 million.
The span will connect RM 2147 in Cottonwood Shores to RM 1431 between Granite Shoals and Marble Falls.
“It’s a monumental step,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley told DailyTrib.com. “This is the part where you survey, design, conduct environmental studies, and engineer the bridge.”
According to Strategic Partnerships Inc., there have been discussions about a crossing as far back as 1974, but the project really picked up momentum in 2017 with public outreach efforts by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), which will reimburse the county for engineering expenses.
Engineering is projected to take 24 months to design the bridge using Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) standards in order for the state agency to accept bids, award a contract, construct the bridge and approaches, and maintain the project, according to reports.
The approaches refers to two roads–South Wirtz Dam Road to the south of the Colorado and Wirtz Dam Road beyond the north bank–that must be reconstructed.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley told DailyTrib.com that local residents had been coming to him since 1999, when he joined the Commissioners Court, about the construction of a possible bridge, and that enthusiasm for the project has never wavered.
Oakley said that the need for a bridge project was great because of the area’s increased traffic and growth.
VBX Project ID: 2016-6853