Updated: Monday, 05 Jul 2010, 8:15 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 05 Jul 2010, 7:11 PM CDT
MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) - The Texas Department of Transportation has set aside almost $30 million to replace the Lake Marble Falls bridge with two new bridges.
Population growth in Burnet County coupled with inefficiencies are the driving force behind the construction plan.
Increased traffic flow is the main goal of this four year construction project that calls for two new bridges, one to serve northbound traffic and the other to serve southbound traffic.
The bridge remains one of the only ways to access Downtown Marble Falls and northern Burnet County.
In order to maintain access, construction crews will build one bridge first, divert traffic on to it, then demolish the old one before building the second.
Even though TxDOT is making sure not to detour drivers, many motorists and local business owners are dreading the construction phase, particularly delays and noise.
"It's too small," said Bob Remack who told KXAN he drives over the bridge at least 10 times a day. "Look, you've got four lanes here, but there's no dividers, it's pretty brutal."
It's a bridge so brutal, many locals nicknamed it the "killer" bridge.
Remack's good friend was killed in a head on collision on the bridge back in February . It is a memory that comes up whenever he is crossing over the bridge.
Soon, however, this bridge will be but a memory.
TxDOT plans to replace it with two new bridges that have shoulders and pedestrian walkways.
"One bridge will go one way and the other bridge will go the other," said John Hurt, TxDOT spokesperson.
This architectural design will eliminate any chance of motorists colliding head on.
This will also increase traffic flow into the area, which is needed for this bridge to remain functional as a hurricane evacuation route and roadway for Fort Hood troops to pass through.
"This new bridge will not only be more functional it will have more capacity," Hurt explained. "I think people will really like it."
Still, the plan has business owners worried as construction stakes have started to appear on their property marking where the new bridges will be.
"You can see the stakes are so close to our sidewalk," said Debbie Cherry, owner of One Swanky Shop on the north end of the bridge. "[The stake] is about ten or fifteen feet away from our building at the most, which, I could see a car going right through our business.
She is also worried construction will hurt her bottom line.
"People see construction and they don't stop," Cherry said.
Cherry and Remack said they are remaining cautiously optimistic the new bridges will be worth the four year wait.
Construction is slated to kickoff in April 2011.