First there was the Ever Given, which blocked the heavily trafficked Suez Canal for six days. And now there is the Spare Room, a 41-foot-boat that was removed from the shoulder of Hwy. 71 in Bee Cave on Thursday after 11 days ashore.
The Travis County Sheriff's Office shut down several lanes of the highway, between Southwest Parkway and Bee Caves Road, around midday Thursday so crews could remove it. Around 3:41 p.m., the boat was making its way down the highway, prompting the office to tweet: "Bon voyage…"
Deputies shutting down several lanes of SH 71 between Southwest Parkway and Bee Caves Road. One lane currently open in each direction. Lane closures will last several hours. https://t.co/HiZUOACHZK
— Travis County SO (@TravisCoSheriff) July 22, 2021
The removal was delayed because of its cost—due to its weight, the boat required two large cranes to move—and temporary traffic disruptions. The Bee Cave Police Department cited a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate in a Tuesday Facebook post.
"We did not believe it was necessary to spend tax dollars to move and house a boat and take civil action against the owner to recover expenses when the situation was not creating an imminent danger," BCPD Chief Gary Miller wrote.
The boat's owner, who has not been identified, attempted to move the boat last weekend and again early Tuesday morning but struggled with breakdowns, prompting TCSO to get involved.
"It is an oversize vehicle and clearly there are multiple traffic law violations but issuing a citation does not move the boat," Miller wrote in the same post.
Despite the inconvenience, the boat never posed an imminent danger to the 50,000 vehicles that pass by it each day. But it did prompt some spirited debate on Reddit, where someone who claimed to be the owner tussled with the owner of a local towing company.
The apparent boat owner, r/Interesting-Estate35, claimed that his marina "illegally terminated (his) lease because they are sister marinas with another marina (he's) suing for sinking (his) last boat," which led to a failed attempt to move it along the highway.
Another Reddit user, r/Millennial, claimed to be the owner of Quick Tow, which has spent a week trying to tow the boat off the highway. "The problem is they put a 40,000lb boat on a homemade trailer," according to a comment published on Monday. "If they had money or insurance we could've gotten two cranes and the proper trailer to do this job in an hour but unfortunately there is no money and the city cannot pay for something like that so we are working with the owners for peanuts just to get it done and open the road."
Like its predecessor in Egypt, the Spare Room did manage to inspire some comic relief in addition to logistical headaches.
OK, who called the cops? Snitches get stitches! pic.twitter.com/uzAMRqNvRv— Bee Cave Boat (@BeeCaveBoat) July 19, 2021
The boat stuck on 620 in #Lakeway is the single most chaotic thing Lakeway has scene in years and I love it— David Logan (@A_DavidLogan) July 22, 2021
The newly made @BeeCaveBoat parody Twitter account racked up 463 followers since its July 17 debut.
I hate to leave folks but I think I've worn out my welcome. See you on the flip side! #illbebackpic.twitter.com/fLFdBQ9uSd
— Bee Cave Boat (@BeeCaveBoat) July 22, 2021
- Several boats sink during pro-Trump parade in Austin - austonia ›
- Photo story: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake - austonia ›
- Lake Travis party boat operators see high demand after COVID ... ›
- Texas man puts up billboard in Austin area looking for love - austonia ›
Austin police have charged Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, a local cyclist, for the murder of Moriah "Mo" Wilson.
Wilson, a rising star in the gravel and mountain bike community, was found dead with gunshot wounds inside an East Austin home on the night of May 11 when she was in town for the weekend Gravel Locos race in Hico, Texas.
Police believe Wilson was having a relationship with a man Armstrong was also in a relationship with. The man, another gravel cyclist, Colin Strickland, has since issued a statement on the murder.
In his statement, he said he had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in October 2021 before he resumed his relationship with Armstrong, but that he remained friends with Wilson. "There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.
NEW: Austin professional cyclist Colin Strickland has just released a statement about the murder of cyclist Moriah Wilson, clarifying his relationship with her and expressing “torture about my proximity to this horrible crime.” pic.twitter.com/KnIna3mWrE
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) May 20, 2022
Wilson, a 25-year-old Vermont native living in Colorado, had won a slew of races becoming a fan favorite. She had just become a full-time racer this year.
Anyone with information on this crime can contact Austin police at 512-974-TIPS or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 512-472-8477.
- Star biker Moriah Wilson found dead in Austin home - austonia ›
- Man killed in north Austin shooting - austonia ›
- 1996 Californian cold case: Murder suspect arrested in Austin ... ›
Austin has added 24-hour security to the city-owned Pecan Gardens property, which will be converted into supportive housing for people exiting homelessness, after the former hotel was found with months of damage and vandalism May 5.
The building, which was broken into and stripped of copper and had people illegally sleeping inside of it, has been secured, Kelly said in a Friday press conference. Kelly said the city confirmed a measure to implement 24-hour security, including updates every 60 days until the property opens up as supportive housing.
"We cannot let this happen to any vacant city-owned property ever again," Kelly said. "This blatant act of disregard and criminal behavior will not be tolerated in our community."
The city bought the former hotel in August 2021 for $9.5 million with plans to renovate the property into a 78-unit supportive housing property. Those 55 or older that are experiencing chronic homelessness can qualify to live at the site once it is completed in late 2022-early 2023.
While the council was set to discuss a $4 million deal with Family Eldercare to begin converting the property Thursday, Kelly pulled the item for a later executive session due to security concerns. But the council did approve an item to authorize city leaders to begin negotiating other renovation contracts.
"I want to thank my colleagues for pumping the brakes on this contract and realizing that we owe the community not only an apology, but reassurance that the protection of the assets the city owns is vital to the success of achieving our intended goals," Kelly said.
When the building was found vandalized May 5, Kelly, who presides over the district containing the property, said damage included:
- Damage spanning all three floors of the building and is in nearly every room.
- The entire hotel was stripped of copper.
- Destroyed washers, dryers, air conditioners and electrical wiring.
- People sleeping at the hotel without permission.
On Tuesday, Austin’s Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray apologized and said there was no security due to a delay in processing the request.
- City Council approves purchase of Northwest Austin hotel for ... ›
- Austinites weigh in on city's homeless hotel housing strategy ... ›
- Officer apologizes after break-in at homeless hotel vandalized ... ›