San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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November 23rd, 2007
City asks to use Cape Road bridge funds for McCarty

The city may use money planned for replacing one of the worst bridges in the state for another project. It’s probably not as stupid as it sounds.

Managing Editor

The city may divert money slated for reinforcing the Cape Road bridge at the San Marcos River to replace drainage culverts on McCarty Lane instead.

In March 2006, officials committed to spending $166,304 in city dollars as its share of replacing the bridge where Cape Road crosses the river’s main channel at Thompson’s Islands. Under a federal program for replacing deficient “off-system” bridges, the city would pay 10 percent, the state 10 percent and the federal government 80 percent.

But a change in state law effective Sept. 1 allows cities to apply for a waiver of the local match on bridge projects if they spend the same amount on other bridges or low-water crossings that need work. The city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to ask TxDOT to allow San Marcos to spend its local money on replacing two 30-inch culverts where McCarty Lane crosses Cottonwood Creek, between Interstate 35 and Hunter Road.

Built without guardrails and shoulders, the Cape Road structure is one of the worst bridges in the state, according to Texas Department of Transportation’s rating system. It scored two out of a possible 100 placing in the bottom ten of 2,024 bridges deemed structurally deficient by TxDOT inspectors.

Under any scenario, the Cape Road improvements appear years away. TxDOT spokesman Marcus Cooper told the San Marcos daily in August that the project will be funded by the state sometime in the next 10 years but is not considered pressing because the bridge is structurally sound. The bridge is ranked so low because it does not have guardrails and shoulders and because erosion could cause future problems, Cooper said.

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