Under budget and ahead of schedule were phrases public officials used as they reopened a vital connector that quite literally bridges Kyle and San Marcos over the Blanco River.
For Hays County Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant, the impact of reopening the Post Road bridge marks one of the last few steps in the county’s effort to recover from the devastating Memorial Day 2015 floods.
Rebuilding the bridge also improves mobility and enhances safety in the area, Whisenant said. First Responders will now have an easier way to access areas along Post Road near the Blanco River.
“If it had not been under budget nor on time, it still was an important project for the issues of safety and convenience,” Whisenant said. “Particularly the safety of those that live along this road and use it daily for access.”
According to Hays County officials, reconstruction of the Post Road Bridge, which suffered heavy damage after the Memorial Day flood, was completed roughly one month ahead of schedule.
The roughly $900,000 project to rebuild the bridge involved a partnership between the county and the Texas Department of Transportation via its “off-system” bridge program.
The program is part of TxDOT’s Highway Bridge Program, which uses federal funding to improve the condition of highway bridges.
In the off-system program, TxDOT renovates projects that are not on the state’s network of highways, while also waiving a 10 percent match requirement from participating entities
In return, entities agree to use an equivalent participation dollar amount to the 10 percent to go toward improving other deficient structures in its jurisdiction.
Terry McCoy, TxDOT district engineer, said TxDOT’s primary focus for bridge improvements is safety.
“When we determine a bridge needs repair, such as this one here, we work with local officials to develop a plan of action and request funding from any source available,” McCoy said.
McCoy said TxDOT worked with its partners in Hays County and Capital Excavation to complete the project earlier than anticipated.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to restore this bridge to what it is today,” McCoy said. Construction of the permanent bridge comes roughly six months after Hays County removed a temporary one-lane solution to connect Post Road over the Blanco. That $100,000 solution involved flat-bed railcars, which Whisenant said was “innovative.”
McCoy said the temporary bridge gave TxDOT and its partners more time to work through design issues and ensure the bridge will be able to last “for generations to come.”
Kyle City Council District 2 council member Alex Villalobos said the reopening of the bridge would have an immediate impact on the Kyle area. He also pointed to the historical significance of Post Road, which was built in 1915 and was once the longest postal route in the U.S.
“It opens up many alternatives for transportation as we look at continued growth,” Villalobos said.
Dex Ellison, Kyle City Council member District 1, said having as many points of entry between Kyle and San Marcos is important in “literally bridging” the two communities.
Rebuilding from the 2015 floods is an ongoing process, but continue to move along, Whisenant said.
“We are on schedule with that and we are beginning to see the signs that we are going to be able to count on the federal help we had hoped to,” Whisenant said.