CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — As contractors clear the way for a city street relocation, workers started tearing down two adjacent businesses March 1 to make way for new private development.
The simultaneous work involves a partnership between the developers associated with the H-E-B store, located in the 1500 block of RR 1431, and the city of Marble Falls.
For the city, the roadway realignment project involves eventually closing the existing Avenue N section, which travels southward to Broadway Avenue. Avenue N currently intersects RR 1431 and aligns with the main entryway of H-E-B.
The new section of Avenue N will line up with Bluebonnet Street a block to the east, meander southward and reconnect at Ninth Street before the Broadway Avenue intersection.
The bulk of the road construction got underway on March 1.
The city accepted a $663,000 bid from Ross Construction for the realignment project.
The contractor initially broke ground Feb. 10 but temporarily halted work to solve issues associated with access to nearby businesses and challenges with dirt work at the construction site in the 1400 block of RR 1431.
“One of the things we knew was going to happen is when we opened up the earth, we found some soil conditions that aren’t ideal, so the contractor and our engineer are working on how to address those,” City Manager Mike Hodge said. “We need to remove the bad soil as much as we can and then go back in using some different types of sub-grade material, bridge over an area where we’ve got some groundwater and build it back up.”
Crews expect to bore down from four to six feet below the subgrade because material deposited over the years has hampered proper compaction of the soil.
“It’s going to involve hauling in and out some pretty significant volumes of dirt and material,” Hodge said. “At some point in time, we’ll have to shut down the intersection of Ninth Street and (the current) Avenue N.”
As the roadwork relaunched in March, contractors with a private developer began tearing down Taco Casa, adjacent to the new roadway, and started the process of removing the Storm’s Drive-In restaurant and Discount Beds and More.
The latter two businesses are separated by the current Avenue N section scheduled for permanent closure and to be eventually absorbed into the new development site.
“What we’ve been talking about is there’s a plat that will be coming in where we’re going to be consolidating the three tracts that once were the furniture store, the Storm’s and Taco Casa lots into a single tract,” Hodge said. “Then, there’s a commercial development that will be coming in on the heels of our road project.
“The street isn’t closed at this time, but (we’ll be) managing those closures, working both with the businesses in the area and the contractor and then the new development being proposed,” he added.
The city will eventually close the existing segment of Avenue N so motorists will detour onto side streets until the new segment is complete.
“What we’re trying to do is build as much of the new road as possible and then minimize the construction on the existing roadway, which will tie into Broadway Avenue, so the closure is as short as possible,” he said.
After the work is complete, the Texas Department of Transportation is expected to relocate the traffic light to the new Avenue N intersection that aligns with Bluebonnet Drive.
“Ultimately, that would be the four-way signalized intersection,” Hodge said. “We’ll have better through traffic between a main part of the city, the (Marble Falls Middle) School and the H-E-B.”
A substantial part of the new roadway is expected to be complete in 120 days with a 150-day completion goal.
The work could be done in May or June.