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FEMA grant building Avenue N bridge

Low water crossing at Avenue N in Marble Falls

A low water crossing on Avenue N across Backbone Creek is set for a major upgrade following the approval of a federal grant to construct a new bridge on the roadway. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls City Council on Nov. 7 accepted a multi-million-dollar grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will pave the way for a new bridge on Avenue N to replace the low water crossing over Backbone Creek. 

The city originally applied for the grant in the aftermath of the historic October 2018 flood after motorists south of Johnson Park struggled to travel north because of flooded roads.

“All those areas south of (Johnson Park) — we call it the peninsula out there — only have ingress and egress points at Johnson Park, Avenue N, and Johnson Street to Avenue S,” Mayor Dave Rhodes told DailyTrib.com. “During the 2018 flood, there was a window of time when all of those egress points had water in them and became impassable. That became problematic.”

Currently, the matching grant is over $3.6 million with a local cost of $1.4 million, or 25 percent. FEMA will cover the other $2.2 million, or 75 percent. Those figures are subject to change based on a re-analysis of the project’s cost since the 2019 request for funding.

“I do know that things have changed cost-wise since we put the grant in,” Rhodes said. “We will go back and say (to FEMA), ‘Thank you very much, and we do mean that, but we really need to look at what the new price might be.’”

Rhodes said an Avenue N bridge will have an outsized impact on Meadowlakes residents as the road is the main way in and out of the gated city.

“It’s something that really needs to be done, not only for Marble Falls but for Meadowlakes,” Rhodes said. “Meadowlakes has even committed some funds to the project as well because it definitely affects their folks.”

The only issue Rhodes anticipates is public outcry over a long road closure during work.

“Once we do start construction, that little stretch of road is going to be closed for a year,” he said. “It won’t be a lot of fun.”

nathan@thepicayune.com