Forward Thinking

Some of you may know that back in the 1980s, John Kemper, a group of businessmen and investors and myself developed Gateway, a 96 acre tract of land, south of the river in Marble Falls. It was originally part of the Michel Ranch.

What you may not know is during the planning of that development we made a pitch to TxDot for us to give a ROW through the property for new northbound lanes from Max Starcke Dam Road to the south end of the river bridge.

That would then have allowed the current highway to only be used for southbound traffic. Vision for a minute a divided highway coming off the hill. Our concept would have required TxDot to relocate FM 2147 where it would intersect with US 281 at or near Max Starcke Dam Road.

Our objective was twofold. Trucks leaving Marble Falls wouldn’t have to stop for a red light and then takeoff on a hill. Additionally trucks traveling north wouldn’t unexpectedly round a corner where traffic is stopped for a red light.

The Purple above is the approximate route of RM 2147 & the Blue show the proposed route of northbound US 281

We had a motive in proposing this to TxDot. It would have given us much more highway frontage which would have offset the additional land we were giving up. But mainly, we could foresee days like today and scenarios that has caused the calamity when the wind generator blades have tied up traffic countless times during past months. We truly want what was best for our little town.

Accident at US 281 and FM 2147 on May 3, 2021

The widening of the bridge wasn’t being talked about at that time but we knew it had to happen in the not too distant future. Our proposal allowed for that transition as well.

When our idea was completely dismissed we went forward planning and building Gateway. The untimely death of partner Steve Hawkins in an auto accident and the real bust of the late 80s put a damper on the project. None of the original partners in the venture every saw gains from the building of Gateway. We completely built it out and then there we no buyers anywhere. Something that had such promise ended for most on a sour note. I continue to be proud to have been a part of something that is a great addition to Marble Falls.

When I see accidents like the one today, I always think about what could have been.

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