TPWD wants information before giving OK to using explosives on 281 bridge

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues to gather information about the possible use of explosives to demolish the old U.S. 281 bridge a week after the Lower Colorado River Authority authorized their use.“Our agency (TPWD) has asked for some more information from TxDOT to make a determination and issue a letter of authorization for use of explosives, per state code,” wrote TPWD communications director Tom Harvey via email.

LCRA granted a waiver on Feb. 14 to TxDOT and contractor Archer Western to use explosives to demolish the bridge between March 17 and April 8. After the waiver was granted, TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna said TxDOT and Archer Western aim to use explosives between March 17 and March 23.

The requested information TPWD needs to authorize the use of explosives includes:

• an estimate of the area of lakebed to be disturbed by sections of the bridge dropping in the water as well as debris removal after blasting the supports

• an approved Aquatic Resources Relocation Plan, including proposed methods for sediment control

• results of a survey on a particular species of mussels in Lake Marble Falls.

Harvey said TxDOT and Archer Western are putting together that information.

“We at TPWD are aware of the dates laid out in the LCRA waiver and Archer Western’s proposed schedule for blasting,” Harvey said. “It looks to us like they are close to having a workable plan, and we shouldn’t have a problem getting them the written authorization within their timeframe, though nothing’s final at this point.”

jared@thepicayune.com