Kingsland bridge rebuilding project begins

Heavy equipment pulled out and piled up jagged metal rebar that once held together the rm 2900 bridge. An emergency contract was awarded last week to capital excavation in order to fast track the $17.3 million rebuilding project.  

Thursday morning, Llano County Commissioner Mike Sandoval and two other local officials were on site to get a closer look at what was being done. They were surprised to learn that TxDOT is trying to get a new bridge, built and open, by April.

Read TxDOT announces plans to reconstruct Kingsland bridge destroyed in flooding

Sandoval agreed what TxDOT is trying to accomplish typical doesn’t happen this fast. “No, it doesn’t and TxDOT is really unsung in this. TxDOT is like a hidden first responder,” said Sandoval.

The last moments of the RM 2900 bridge were captured by Kenneth Smith.

In the morning of October 16th, sections of the road deck were flipped and washed away by flood waters rushing down the Llano River. The bridge was built to withstand a 50 year flood; it lasted 49.

The new bridge is being designed to stand taller according to Sandoval.

“It’s going to arch from here to 5 foot higher in the center and go back down,” said Sandoval.

Read Kingsland neighborhood separated from rest of town after bridge washed away

To make this fast track schedule work, I’m told that a lot of equipment is coming from out of state. Barges for cranes are being shipped down from Indiana and there is a large debris truck that’s come in from Alabama. Just up the road at this garage where classic cars are restored, owner Robert Pool and his mechanics understand how difficult and how important the bridge rebuild is for the community.

In a way whats being done at the river is the kind of restoration people hire him to do; give new life to something lost. “Yeah, just like that truck, or these cars. These people have real emotional attachment,i mean they’re passionate about this stuff, they’re, not take it or leave it type people,” said Pool.

The bridge project, and all the other repair projects up and down the river, according to Pool represent opportunity. “So, its a reset, we’ll let the river down, lower the water,  bulldoze all that stuff out of there, open up all new areas of lake front property for resort rentals residential, the businesses that will come in to support all this economy, are just going to move in.”

Ramping up that economic engine may take additional assistance.

State representative Andrew Murr (R ) who was with commissioner Sandoval Thursday told FOX 7 he expects a legislative disaster aid package will be considered during the upcoming regular session.

“There’s a lot of expenses being incurred by cities and counties and privately that we’re looking at what are ways the state can make sure we can support that in the future and i think that discussion needs to be had and that will start in January,” said Murr. An answer to the question regarding any relief package may come just as this gap is closed by a new Llano River bridge.