The Cambria Drive cave in Round Rock stretches further underneath Ephraim Road than originally thought. The Cambria Drive cave has been a thorn in the side of homeowners nearby for about six months now and, still, nobody knows how much longer it could be before construction on the cave is complete and the road reopened.
“We know that the road's been closed for a very long time and we are trying to work as quickly as we can to get the roadway restored, but also working to ensure the safety of everyone around and the environment,” said Connie Odom, Williamson County public affairs manager.
Construction to fill in the cave was stopped just last week after crews noticed a one-foot hole in the wall that led to a fifth chamber. When environmental consultants took a second look at the chamber Tuesday, they realized they had it mapped out incorrectly.
“The cave actually extends about eight feet under Ephraim Road,” Odom said.
To ensure the road isn't negatively affected, the county has had to rethink where heavy trucks park.
“We have made a modification to our plans in not allowing heavy equipment to sit over that upper level of the fifth chamber,” said Odom.
The ever-changing plans surrounding the cave has nearby homeowners worried about the impact on property values, but real estate broker Donna Scoggins said that hasn't impacted her buyers’ interest in the Brushy Creek area. “I just recently looked at the activity for that neighborhood and I didn't find anything that would indicate a slow down because of the caves,” Scoggins said.
In fact, one of her buyers just purchased a home about half a block from the cave, though Scoggins does believe sellers with a cave-front view may find themselves in more of a bind. “Now my buyer did look at a home that was a couple houses from the cave. Now it wasn't the right home for that buyer, but they wouldn't have bought that home because they could see the cave,” said Scoggins.
The County is currently working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to come up with a new plan for the fifth chamber, but, as Scoggins points out, it's impossible to predict where a cave may be hiding.
“Who's to say there's not a cave underneath us? We do not know,” Scoggins said.
Structural engineers said although they are restricting heavy equipment vehicles from stopping over the new chamber under Ephraim Road, the cave is 20 feet underground, so they believe it is safe for other cars to drive over.