MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) - The TexasDepartment of Transportation has set aside almost $30 millionto replace the Lake Marble Falls bridge with two new bridges.
Population growth in BurnetCounty coupled with inefficiencies are the driving force behindthe construction plan.
Increased traffic flow is the main goal of this four yearconstruction project that calls for two new bridges, one to servenorthbound traffic and the other to serve southbound traffic.
The bridge remains one of the only ways to access DowntownMarble Falls and northern Burnet County.
In order to maintain access, construction crews will build onebridge first, divert traffic on to it, then demolish the old onebefore building the second.
Even though TxDOT is making sure not to detour drivers, manymotorists and local business owners are dreading the constructionphase, particularly delays and noise.
"It's too small," said Bob Remack who told KXAN he drives overthe bridge at least 10 times a day. "Look, you've got four laneshere, 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 headon collision on the bridge back in February. It is a memorythat 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 haveshoulders and pedestrian walkways.
"One bridge will go one way and the other bridge will go theother," said John Hurt, TxDOT spokesperson.
This architectural design will eliminate any chance of motoristscolliding head on.
This will also increase traffic flow into the area, which isneeded for this bridge to remain functional as a hurricaneevacuation route and roadway for Fort Hoodtroops to pass through.
"This new bridge will not only be more functional it will havemore capacity," Hurt explained. "I think people will reallylike it."
Still, the plan has business owners worried as constructionstakes have started to appear on their property marking where thenew bridges will be.
"You can see the stakes are so close to our sidewalk," saidDebbie Cherry, owner of OneSwanky 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 optimisticthe new bridges will be worth the four year wait.
Construction is slated to kickoff in April 2011.
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