Hays Co. builds 'rail-car' bridge to replace one destroyed in flood

You'd never guess it by the gentle flow of the Blanco River on Thursday... but water can be a powerful force.  It ripped the Post Road Bridge right off during the Memorial Day flood.

Now what once traveled on the train track high above the Blanco River is going to help people drive their cars again across the water. Hays County is building a temporary bridge out of old flat bed rail cars.

"It's not a novel idea for temporary bridges because these types of rail cars are being used in multiple sections for even permanent bridges...a lot of them in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas," said Hays County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant.

Whisenant says the $100,000 project involves laying two 89-foot rail car bottoms side by side. 

"Those are all steel, there's no wood in the structures," he said.

Since the flood, Whisenant says residents have had to find other ways to get around the river.

"They've been having to take alternate routes back through San Marcos on this side of the river over in this area back through Yarrington road or Kyle," he said.

Shayna Middleman is a Texas State student who lives on Post Road.  She's had to find alternate routes herself.

"I didn't know that they were doing this temporary thing so when that does come up I'll definitely be re-using the road," she said.

Her friends, too.

"I've had so many people come to visit me, try to come down this road and then tell me that they have to turn around and hop back on the freeway," she said.

Whisenant says the temporary bridge should be ready to go by December 15th.

"There'll be 3 to 5 days of welding joining the 2 bridge sections together and putting guard rails on it and simultaneously the county will be building approaches up to the bridge," he said.

The rail car bridge will serve Hays County drivers until late 2016 when construction on the permanent bridge is scheduled to get underway.

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