McLennan County commissioners voted Tuesday to close the county road nearest the site of the former Branch Davidian compound for repairs and to consider ordinances to keep sightseers from clogging roads in the area.

“Vehicular traffic is stopping, standing and parking on Double EE Ranch Road,” Commissioner Lester Gibson, whose precinct includes the Mount Carmel site, told his fellow commissioners. “In my opinion, this is clearly dangerous to others using the road.”

Commissioners approved putting up locked gates at the north and south ends of the road and closing it off from Monday to Aug. 23.

Keys will be provided to landowners, emergency personnel, the McLennan County Sheriff’s office and an attorney for the Branch Davidians who remain in the area and still claim title to the 77-acre site.

Double EE Ranch Road is the one onto which the driveway to Mount Carmel opens. It was the road federal agents took in their ill-fated Feb. 28 raid, and the road most torn up by armored vehicles during the 51-day siege that ended April 19 with Mount Carmel going up in flames.

The road has become the favorite of sightseers who go to see the site.

Gibson said the road will be opened again in August, but he urged the court to adopt an ordinance prohibiting stopping or standing along the road and along Elk Road, the extension of FM 2491 that runs south of the Branch Davidian property.

Commissioners agreed to begin the process of public hearings to enact such an ordinance.

Gary Coker, attorney for the Branch Davidians who remain in the area, said his clients are in favor of the actions.

“You’re not going to be able to stop the tourist traffic completely, but to restrict it and stop people from getting out of their cars and roaming around about the property, then I think that benefits everybody,” Coker said.

Gibson also urged fellow commissioners to ask the federal government for the money to upgrade both Double EE Ranch Road and Elk Road.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.