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After 11 days ashore, 41-foot boat is removed from side of Bee Cave highway

(Travis County Sheriffs Department/Twitter)

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…"

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.

The newly made @BeeCaveBoat parody Twitter account racked up 463 followers since its July 17 debut.


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