UPDATE: Officials from the Texas Department of Transportation provided information regarding the cause of a hole in the road south of Marble Falls that caused authorities to close U.S. 281 in both directions on Aug. 19. The highway between Texas 71 and FM 2147 is now reopened with the sinkhole blocked off.
According to a TxDOT spokesman, on the morning of Aug. 19, a crew of road workers with Jordan Foster Construction were boring underneath the roadway to install a culvert along U.S. 281 South when the roadway failed.
“Out of caution, U.S. 281 was closed in both directions so TxDOT could make an assessment,” Public Information Officer Bradley Wheelis said in a statement.
TxDOT is not referring to the hole as a sinkhole, Wheelis said. At least not yet. The definition of a sinkhole is a cavity in the ground, especially in limestone bedrock, caused by water erosion and providing a route for surface water to disappear underground, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
“While we’re still investigating the cause of the failure, it does not appear to be caused by water erosion or an act of nature,” he said.
Just before 7 a.m., local law enforcement and first responders from Burnet County and the Marble Falls Police Department, Fire Rescue, and Public Works were contacted to aid in redirecting traffic from the area, confirmed Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander.
The four-lane highway was closed for roughly 90 minutes, during which commuters were detoured toward alternate routes through Horseshoe Bay. By 8:45 a.m., one lane of the highway going in each direction was reopened.
“TxDOT and the contractor continue to assess both the failure and potential fixes,” Wheelis said. “Those repairs will be made as quickly as possible.”
8:45 a.m. Update: U.S. 281 has reopened with one lane in each direction. The Marble Falls Police Department advise travelers to expect significant delays.
After road crews found a sinkhole in the 1900 block of U.S. 281 South in front of the new 7-11 store south of Lake Marble Falls, police are detouring all traffic in the area of the problem off the roadway.
“All of 281 in the area is shut down,” said Marble Falls Police Capt. Trisha Ratliff. “We’re diverting northbound traffic to 2147 East and we’re diverting all southbound traffic to 2147 West. We would like people to avoid the area as much as possible.”
Around 8:45 a.m., one lane of traffic was opened back up on U.S. 281 in each direction, north and south, around the hole.
Officers are asking for drivers to be patient as crews are working hard to fix the issue.
Also, drivers need to be aware that, along with road crews, there are first responders in that area.