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Marble Falls awards builder contract for bank stabilization project

Backbone Creek erosion threatens houses

Already eroding under normal circumstances, this bank along Backbone Creek across from Johnson Park in Marble Falls endangered homes along the cliff after the October 2018 flood. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

The city of Marble Falls awarded a construction contract for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program bank stabilization project during its regular City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The project, which will shore up and reinforce five separate sites along Backbone Creek to prevent further erosion, will be handled by Jay-Reese Contractors Inc. for $6.5 million.

“We anticipate issuing notice to proceed to Jay-Reese before the end of the month, and we anticipate them being mobilized probably early to mid-November,” City Engineer Kacey Paul said.

All five sites experienced erosion issues related to the October 2018 flood. Site 1 is at the Avenue N crossing at Backbone Creek. Site 2 is at the raw-water intake at Lake Marble Falls. Site 3 is along Backbone Creek at the Lower Colorado River Authority tower. Site 4 is at the Avenue J crossing at Backbone Creek.

Site 5, which runs parallel to Buena Vista Drive, will be the first to receive reinforcement. The timeline for substantial completion is 140 days from notice to proceed. 

The look of the stabilization project will vary by site. Site 5, for example, will be terraced with 5-foot walls and roughly 10-foot tiers that will rise up in a series of steps.

For the entire peninsula, with the exception of the kayak dock, the reinforcement will consist of sheet piling with a concrete cap, similar to what’s at Johnson Park now, though the wall will be of a different style.

“We were trying to balance between stabilizing the bank and park planning,” Paul said. “Although that’s a site that’s planned for future park planning, we’re not ready to take on that endeavor right now, so we’re trying to stabilize the bank and leave it as a canvas for future projects.”

The City Council also managed to reduce the overall contract price of the bank stabilization project by $632,400 to its current value of roughly $6.5 million. The reduction came after engineers and the contractor went through an extensive value engineering exercise to determine cost-saving measures. 

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