by BRAD ROLLINS
State and county officials have negotiated an agreement to share the cost of $123 million in new and expanded highways, including an eastern loop around San Marcos.
The informal deal struck between Texas Department of Transportation executive director Phil Wilson and Hays County Commissioners Will Conley and Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe would commit the county to applying $35 million toward the roadways in unused debt capacity approved by voters nearly five years ago. In exchange, TxDOT would essentially loan the county $48 million to build FM 110 and spend an additional $40 million to construct five projects in and around the Interstate 35 corridor cities of San Marcos, Kyle and Buda.
A gleam in the eye of property owners and planners for at least three decades, the 13¼-mile loop would start at Yarrington Road in northern San Marcos, sweeping eastward around the city’s edge before rejoining Interstate 35 at McCarty Lane where two miles of the loop have already been built or are under construction now.
Other highway projects encompassed in the agreement include:
- Adding shoulders to Ranch Road 12 between San Marcos and FM 32, “The Junction” south of Wimberley. Estimated project cost: $3 million. County’s cost: To be determined (engineering). State’s cost: $2 million (construction).
- Extending the Buda truck bypass to FM 1626 including an interchange and railroad bridge. Estimated project cost: $10 million. County’s cost: $2 million (engineering). State’s cost: $8 million (construction).
- Widening FM 2001, between Interstate 35 and Texas 21 on Buda’s eastside, to two lanes with 10-foot shoulders. Estimated project cost: $18 million. County’s cost: $2 million (engineering). State’s cost: $16 million (construction). Additional funding may be needed for right-of-way.
- Adding a center turn lane and shoulders to FM 150, between Lehman Road and Texas 21 on Kyle’s eastside. Estimated project cost: $5.1 million. County’s cost: $1.1 million (right-of-way, utilities, engineering). State’s cost: $4 million (construction).
- Replacing the Interstate 35-Posey Road interchange south of the Premium and Tanger outlet centers in San Marcos. Estimated project cost: $16.5 million. County’s cost: $1.5 million (engineering). State’s cost: $15 million (construction). Additional funding may be needed for right-of-way.
The terms are outlined in a Dec. 10 letter obtained by the San Marcos Mercury from Ingalsbe and Conley to Wilson. When the Hays County Commissioners Court votes Tuesday on a resolution formally asking the Texas Transportation Commission for approval, Conley and Ingalsbe need only one other vote on the five-member court to secure the deal on this end; passage, therefore, seems likely. Local officials say they think Wilson has committed TxDOT to upholding its end of the bargain, although it is far from papered up.
» Read the full story + download related documents. Join MercuryPro.