Bastrop News

Dangerous dams, cut-off homes addressed

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By Terry Hagerty

With an intense look on his face, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape spoke in short declarative sentences during an emergency meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court Friday morning. He was addressing severe damage out in the County in the wake of this week’s record-setting floods including washed out roads, bridges and “problem dams” with the potential to fail.

Pape said it was necessary to “take care of immediate danger to the public” by repairing the damaged infrastructure.  Precinct 2 Commissioner Clara Beckett and Precinct 4 Commissioner Bubba Snowden were part of the emergency meeting. All three voted to approve spending up to $200,000 from the General Fund to address the damages. (Commissioners Willie Pina and John Klaus could not make the meeting). At one point during the meeting, Beckett said that a pond/dam on Cottle Town Road was “clearly a threat” to fail, adding if there had been an inch more of rain on Thursday night, the dam “could have been breached.” A dam in Bastrop State Park had already given earlier this week after the heavy rains.

Pape said that some families had been unable to use vehicles to exit the washed-out dirt road (and bridge) that is Squirrel Run, off of Hwy. 21 East. He said some individuals had hiked out through difficult terrain to get to bordering roads with access to Hwy. 21, including the parallel Kinsey Road. He added that fire trucks would likely have a hard time reaching the area through bordering terrain, and that it was definitely a rough area for any helicopter landing zones. But he said Acadia EMS would be able to access the area if needed, after Bluebonnet Electric had offered use of their more rugged (and elevated) vehicles.

Repair of a bridge on Wilbarger Creek Drive that had washed out, shutting off road access to a dozen homes on the north end of the road, was also needed, Pape said. That road is just above Wilbarger Creek, which overflowed its banks during the flood. “Problem dams” were additionally identified in the Circle D subdivision off of FM 1441, and a location on Cottle Town Road, east of Bastrop off of Hwy. 71.

Private contractors will be hired to do the work immediately. “You got plenty of things to take care of,” Pape said to the two commissioners of other road repairs after the floods. Reached by phone about 1:30 p.m., Pape said he was inspecting the areas with a contracted engineer in order to size up what the contractors will need to do.

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