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Dripping Springs woman calls for change after losing neighbor to flooding

A business owner wants Bell Springs Road safer so more drivers don't die from flash flooding.

AUSTIN, Texas — When Karen Moise bought Ma Maison in 2011, she said didn't have to worry about flooding for her wedding venue because Dripping Springs was drought-stricken. 

Fast forward to 2019 and flash flooding is a much more common concern.

On Friday, she lost her neighbor, 55-year-old Brandon Hurlbut, after fast-moving waters washed his vehicle away from where Barton Creek meets Bell Springs Road.

"To hear that it was an actual resident is heartbreaking because we travel on this road every day, we know the dangers of living in the Hill Country, we know the dangers of high water, but to know that we lost a neighbor, a resident in Dripping Springs, to a low-water crossing that is clearly very dangerous is just horrifying," Moise said.

She has been trying to get safety improvements at the water crossing since 2015, one year after she opened her wedding venue on Bell Springs Road. 

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"Now that a life has been lost, I hope that we actually do get their attention and do get their road fixed," said Moise.

She said flood markers and other safety signs keep disappearing from the low-water crossing. She does acknowledge that the county recently installed warning signs, but she said they weren't flashing Friday when the storms hit and the water quickly rose.

"So no one knew our road had high water on it until they got to the barrier," she said.

Moise's fear is if a well-seasoned Dripping Springs neighbor can't navigate Bell Springs Road when it rains, her guests and customers of the other wedding venues and breweries on this road won't be able to either.

A Hays County spokesperson said at the airing of this report, she doesn't have an answer to if and when those safety improvements will happen. County crews were out surveying damage on Monday.

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