Bastrop News

Deliverance from a Deluge

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer

‘Dirt and hard work’ have been the priority this week for Bastrop County road crews and hired private contractors working in the aftermath of the Memorial Day flooding. On Tuesday, portions of two roads were undergoing emergency repairs because the only way in and out for vehicles – through single dirt roads – had been washed out by high waters: Squirrel Run off of Hwy. 21 East; and the north end of Wilbarger Creek Drive, east of FM 1704. On Wilbarger Creek Drive a bridge had also been washed away.

On Monday one resident on Wilbarger Creek Drive said, “I’ve been staying home and eating canned food until we could get out today” by vehicle. Another resident said her family had used a canoe at one point to get out so they could obtain supplies, because they couldn’t wait for the waters to recede.

The County is replacing a bridge on the north end of Wilbarger Creek that collapsed into Rocky Creek (a tributary that feeds into Wilbarger Creek), because it was declared an emergency because access was closed off for residents, said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape. The replacement of the bridge is going forward even though it’s considered a private road.  Residents will have to foot the bill for any improvements to the non-bridge portions of the road, Pape explained, because it is a private road.

Some of those property owners are participating in Go Fund Me campaigns on the Internet to raise funds. However, one resident claimed that the road is listed as a Bastrop County road by the Bastrop County Appraisal District. A call to the Appraisal District showed the road is private, as Pape had labeled it.

Pape termed the damage “extensive” around the County, adding that from six to 13 inches of rain fell in parts of the County. He said over 100 roads were blocked off because of high water at some point.  “It was already wet, and (the water) has to run off” Pape said,  adding about a dozen roads had been “completely washed out” and a half dozen of those were still impassable as of Tuesday morning.

One of those spots, a portion of Shiloh Road that broke apart and  collapsed into a creek – about 100 yards west of FM 304 –  hadn’t received immediate attention because residents can get to their homes “from one direction or the other,” Pape explained. For Shiloh Road, that meant access from the west and Hwy. 20. He said crews had to first take care of areas that were “emergencies for the health and safety” of the affected population.

Pape said seven Texas counties had already received federal disaster declarations (including Hays and Harris counties) and that Bastrop County had applied to join gain that status, making the County eligible for federal funds. “We sent our report (of damages) to the State of Texas, and it will be forwarded to Washington,” Pape said. “We hope to have an answer promptly.”

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