February 26, 2016
“Rebuilding that bridge and opening that back up means a lot to our spirits and a symbol of how we’re continuing to move forward and get on our own two feet,” Conley said. “It has an immediate impact on people’s quality of life…"
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The Fischer Store Road bridge, a key crossing of the Blanco River in western Hays County that was destroyed in the deadly Memorial Day weekend flooding, became a symbol of the Wimberley area’s plight after two severe floods last year.
That’s why the bridge’s reopening this week and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday should be viewed as a symbol of the area’s resilience, Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said.
“Rebuilding that bridge and opening that back up means a lot to our spirits and a symbol of how we’re continuing to move forward and get on our own two feet,” Conley said. “It has an immediate impact on people’s quality of life, from taking their kids to school to being able to get to work to just feeling like they’re part of the community again.”
After a plan to build a temporary bridge fell through because officials couldn’t secure the cooperation of an adjacent property owner, the $1.5 million permanent replacement was constructed on budget and ahead of schedule, Conley said. It was funded entirely by the Texas Department of Transportation. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and TxDOT officials attended Friday’s ceremony.
The May flooding, which killed 14 in Central Texas, wiped out or damaged every Blanco River bridge and low-water crossing in Hays County.
In Blanco County, the RM 165 bridge that went over the Blanco River was destroyed by the flood. Its repair is expected to be completed this spring at a cost of $1.2 million, according to TxDOT. Another Blanco County-owned bridge and three low-water crossings were damaged but have been repaired.
With the completion of the Fischer Store Road bridge and the construction of a temporary bridge at Post Road in San Marcos this year, every Blanco River connection has been restored except one low-water crossing in the city of Wimberley, Conley said.
“We’re almost back to normal from a connectivity perspective,” he said.