County holds public meeting on San Gabriel Ranch Road
By Christine Bolaños
CEDAR PARK — Williamson County staff met with the public regarding a roadway in the San Gabriel River Ranch subdivision, which was closed after it was determined unsafe, and will eventually re-open.
The community had an opportunity to make comments, ask questions and see photos of the deterioration of the San Gabriel Ranch Road at Remuda that led to its closure.
County staff had a Frequently Asked Questions handout for those who attended the meeting at the Cedar Park Annex on Tuesday night.
The handout makes clear that the San Gabriel Ranch Road project is separate from the closure at the spillway, just east of Remuda Drive. The road project’s first phase began in summer 2013 and the second phase is expected to begin in 2016.
As Road and Bridge division staff had previously stated, the decision to close the road at the spillway location was based only on safety and had nothing to do with resurfacing and rehabilitation.
“Every time it rains and the spillway engages, water runs over the road, causing erosion on the downstream side of the road,” the handout explained. “Upon last inspection, the erosion had undermined the road so severely that Road and Bridge engineers determined it was no longer safe for residents.”
The cost related to the closure has not been determined yet.
“There are currently ongoing meetings with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to attempt to appropriate necessary disaster recovery funding so adequate repairs or modifications can be made,” the sheet goes on to say. “We are considering all options while determine the proper course of action for this section of roadway.”
The sheet also reiterated the road has not been condemned by FEMA, contrary to some residents’ impressions.
The handout briefly explained the decision to re-open the road within about 11.5-to-15.5 months.
“…The Commissioner’s Court determined that, with the best information that we currently have, repairing the road and re-opening it to traffic is the most favorable option at this time,” it stated.
Several residents have stated in the past they have not been kept informed about matters related to the road.
“Williamson County Road and Bridge has received the names, e-mail addresses and other contact information for residents in the San Gabriel River Ranch subdivision who signed the petition that was circulating in mid-October 2015,” the sheet explained.
Staff recommends those wanting to stay in the loop email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-943-3330 to be added to the contact list.
“First and foremost, we’re trying to deal with the safety issue of the road that goes over the dam and make sure that we get that repaired in a way that is safe,” said Commissioner Cynthia Long at the meeting. “We’re always concerned about people’s safety first. The second piece of that is the continuation of the resurfacing that was started several years ago. That’s what tonight is about.
“Just to let the public come, see pictures and ask questions and hopefully make sure that all the correct information is out there,” Long said. “People are hearing from the engineers and getting their questions answered.”
More than 30 people attended the meeting within the hour before it officially began.