Our cemetery road has a long history of problems. Back some 10 years or so ago, Rowe Byers offered to let us use the bottom portion of his property going from Blue Bluff Road over to the back of our cemetery - some 800’ feet or so - to put in a road wide enough for two lanes. It’s fairly level and seemed like an ideal solution even with having to clear the land of trees and brush. The problem lay in the fact that while Blue Bluff Road is on the maps as a road, it is actually a private city easement, is but a track and is locked at the entrance to FM 969 with numerous locks. It goes to the city facility at the river. This left us with no alternative except to look at what we can do to keep our road passable.
Our cemetery road is about 1750’ or so long based on measurements from the Travis CAD map. For most of it, it’s in fairly decent shape. It’s getting ruts with grass growing in the middle but keeping that mowed in addition to the care of our cemetery would be costly.
It’s the last 320’ feet or so that’s the problem. It gets trenches that meander down the slope going from side to side in places making it difficult to navigate. Then there’s the drop just before it levels out at the bottom. That’s had trenches quite deep. At one time there was cement placed in it but was washed out so there are now chunks of concrete in addition to the trench.
Particularly with no family living on the property, it’s a challenge to know there’s a problem and to fill the area when it gets bad. One has to actually drive to the slope before looking down and seeing whether it’s negotiable or not. When finding it isn’t, it means backing some 1400’ or so back to the gate. There is no room to turn around. It would be helpful if we could put a sign at the gate in those conditions but there’s no one to keep up with that.
The photos below were ones that I took several years ago when I went out by myself. I had a low clearance but fortunately small car. I had no backup camera so could not see to back up and wasn’t sure if I made it down, I could make it back up. With the driver’s side of the car rubbing the fence and cactus and the tires on the other side barely on the road, I made it by. It was about a 8” trench and with the low clearance of my car slipping into that trench would have caused major problems and required calling for a tow truck. I have not gone alone since then. The next time I went, there were again trenches. My son stood outside and was able to guide me to miss them.
In June we received word about problems with the road. Steve went out and had caliche fill put in to fix that in early July. I was out there (no, not alone!) on July 28 and just having folks drive on the caliche was causing it to shift and you could see trenches forming. They weren’t deep enough to cause a problem but we’d had no rain and these were just from vehicles driving on it.
We certainly don’t need someone going out to lay flowers on a loved one’s gravesite and having to call a tow truck. In addition, constantly filling and maintaining this area is costly. Because of this we’ve been trying to find a more permanent fix.
With information from several companies in the Austin area, we’ve learned about hot asphalt - used for paving city roads and highways and the most expensive form of paving and which needs maintenance - and chip sealing which is the process used on county roads that is about half the cost of hot asphalt and needs little to no maintenance.
I tried to get estimates from a number of companies but received no call back from messages left nor email replies from those that required email quote requests. I put in a request on Homeadviser to see what would happen and did get responses from four.
Two said they give estimates based on the length rather than going out to look at the location. Since I wanted them to look for a solution, not just consider chip sealing the whole length, I could only get an estimate based on the length - some $25,000-$30,000 - which is far more we might be able to raise. One did not respond to the email request. The fourth agreed to go look at it and see what could be done.
H. L. Smith, owner of Armor Asphalt Paving, called me on Monday morning, August 13, while at the cemetery. He said the upper portion of the road is in pretty good shape. The slope of some 320' is the portion that needs a repair. He said they could grade it, compact it and chip seal it for $4,600. This would be 10' wide. He said it would need a good base and this would do that. He also said there was a hole in the road up near the highway and he would fill it before he left at no charge. I had seen that when I was out there on July 28. The cost is based on a per square foot basis and is more for shorter areas than for longer ones and this is in line with those estimates.
What we need now are donations to cover the cost. If you can help in any way, even a small amount, please send your check payable to Hornsby Cemetery to our Cemetery Board’s Treasurer at:
P. O. Box 357
Rosanky, TX 78953
Thank you for any assistance you can give.
Hornsby Cemetery Board of Governors
This is the portion where the slope begins showing the trench meandering across the road.