GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners, sitting as the County Floodplain Appeal Board, on Monday granted a variance to allow construction of a crude oil pipeline through the county because the “structures would not impact the 100-year floodplain.”

The BridgeTex Pipeline — a 400-mile-long, 20-inch crude-oil pipeline from Colorado City to Houston — will cut across 37 miles of Coryell County, crossing the Leon River and several creeks along the way.

Robert von Czoernig, a staff geologist for Zephyr Environmental Corp., and Jason Walker, a pipeline engineer with WILLBROS Engineers, requested the variance during the Monday hearing.

All pipeline through the floodplain would be underground, Walker said, and any disturbed areas would be “restored to pre-construction contours.”

“It has been demonstrated through hydrologic analysis performed in accordance with standard engineering practice that a variance would not result in any increase in flood levels within the community,” according to the order approved unanimously by the board.

The BridgeTex Pipeline is a joint venture of Magellan Midstream Partners and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Construction of the project is set to start this fall with oil flowing through the pipe at a rate of 278,000 barrels per day by next summer.

In other action during the regular session, the commissioners voted to cancel the 90-day burn ban imposed on Sept. 16. The ban on outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of the county was repeatedly suspended one or two weeks at a time because of recent rainfall.

Commissioners also ratified the two-year appointments of four members of the Central Counties Center board of trustees — Nancy Holle and Steven Wick, both of Bell County, Ann King of Milam County and Sue Faulkner of Lampasas County.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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