No Price Tag, No Timeline for Dam Road
Six months after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) closed Canyon Lake Dam’s service road to pedestrian traffic, there’s still no price tag or timeline for reopening the most popular tourist spot in the area.
The Corps padlocked the gate to the road unexpectedly on May 21, citing safety concerns. However, the U.S. Access Board said the Corps refused to make reasonable and cost-effective modifications following an official complaint about lack of access by mobility devices.
Jen Crownover, Comal County Commissioner, Pct. 4, spearheaded community efforts to reopen the road by forming Dam Community Alliance, which has raised at least $12,500 towards its goal of $100,000.
But where the remaining funds will come from is still unclear.
It’s widely assumed the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA), USACE and Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) will contribute the remaining $200,000.
However, Nathan Pence, the GBRA’s executive manager of Environmental Science and Community Affairs, said in late October that nobody knows what the project ultimately will cost.
“There has been the estimate of 300,000 that was thrown out there in the very beginning and I have heard that number as well, but I think the direct answer is, the price is not for sure.”
“What is really going on right now is that the Corps of Engineers is designing and is coming to resolution within itself on how to fix that problem, how to open up that access again, and until they do that and they provide designs that show how they’re going to build safety aspects of that, there’s nothing to fund, but they’re working on that right now and there are several funding partners that are committed to that.”
Clay Church, public affairs specialist for USACE’s Fort Worth District, said the corps continues to collaborate and coordinate with stakeholders about viable options to allow public access to the service road over Canyon Lake Dam.
“Once a solution, timeframe and costs for reopening are known, we will share that information with our stakeholders, news media and the public.”
Longtime Canyon Lake resident Jaynellen Kerr, who works as a GBRA resource specialist at Canyon Lake Gorge, said the community is doing everything it can to get the service road reopened.
“Jen said let’s do something, let’s help, and the crowds came,” she said of Crownover’s Oct. 21 car show fundraiser. “We haven’t even begun. We want to support it and we’re doing what we can.”
Kerr said residents love walking the scenic service road because “you’re out in the Hill Country and its the flattest place you can go walk, and a lot of people counted on that, and were there everyday.”
People have enjoyed the scenery and solitude of the road across Canyon Lake for decades, with zero reported injuries or mishaps. COE is insisting on squandering literally hundreds of thousands of OUR money, either through taxes or by direct contribution, to “fix” what ain’t broke., yet a spokesman for the agency responsible for compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, which applies to this situation, has indicated months ago that a simple widening of the walkthrough entrances to 36″ would bring the dam into compliance and provide handicap access – nothing further is required.
One has to ponder why the public tolerates this malfeasance. This is what political correctness does to the country.