620 Mansfield Dam (Lake Travis)
Last updated 28-November-2001, created 27-June-2001
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Old Dam Road Closed in the wake of September 11, 2001. As you can see, however, the dam road is not very secure - a truck could easily break through the gate. I expect the dam road to reopen at some point. Keeping it closed just doesn't make sense as long as truck-resistant barriers are not installed. Photo taken 17-November-2001.
Lake Travis Filled On November 15, 2001, heavy rains filled Lake Travis to 685 feet above sea level, above the "full" level of 681 feet and in the "flood pool". This was the view of Lake Travis from RM 620. Photo taken 20-November-2001.
I have superimposed today's roadway route on the 1984 aerial photograph. The roadway was expanded and re-aligned in the early 1990's. At that time, the bridge over the Colorado River was constructed just downstream of Mansfield Dam. Looking at the narrow old roadway on top of the dam, it's hard to believe that it served the region's traffic as recently as the early 1990's. Imagine trucks with wide boat trailers competing for space on the 19-foot-wide roadway. It could be frightening at times.
The re-alignment of the roadway formed an oxbow road, which is still in use today and will remain an active roadway. Just east of the dam, there is an abandoned section of roadway. West of the dam, the old roadway now serves recreational traffic.
Click for unannotated high resolution image, 707k Aerial view dated December 1984. Notice that Lake Travis was very low at that time.
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This view shows a section of abandoned roadway just east of Mansfield Dam. Notice the reflective markers are still intact. It appears that a layer of dirt was put over the roadway, but the original pavment is still there about 6-12 inches down. You can see it where the soil cap has eroded away. Photo taken 26-June-2001.
Dam Roadway - now closed to vehicular traffic
The dam roadway is now open to pedestrians only.
(high resolution image, 217k) This is the east entrance to the dam roadway. Notice the narrow roadway clearance. Photo taken 8-May-2001.
(high resolution image, 178k) This view shows the dam roadway, with the dam bridge structure in the background. Photo taken 8-May-2001.
(high resolution image, 272k) This view shows the center section of the dam. Photo taken 8-May-2001.
(high resolution image, 194k) This gate control structure was the most frightening part of bridge crossings when trucks or wide boat trailers were passing through. Photo taken 8-May-2001.
(high resolution image, 151k) The western entrance to the dam road. I may sound like a broken record, but look how narrow it is. Photo taken 8-May-2001.
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The new bridge, completed in the early 1990's.
(high resolution image, 288k) A view of the new bridge from the old dam road.