San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

STAFF REPORT

AUSTIN — The Texas Transportation Commission has awarded construction contracts to replace the narrow Old Bastrop Highway bridge over the San Marcos River and widen a heavily-traveled section of Ranch-to-Market Road 967 in Buda.

The commission also allocated money to replace the U.S. 290 bridge over Rocky Creek in Blanco County and the Oak Grove Road bridge over the west fork of Plum Creek in Caldwell County.

The total cost of construction contracts let this month by the Texas Department of Transportation for infrastructure construction in Hays and Caldwell counties total about $5.8 million. A closer look at the projects:

Old Bastrop Highway bridge | Near San Marcos

Driving on the Old Bastrop Highway between Staples Road and the Old Martindale Road — coming from either direction — one negotiates an unforgiving 90-degree turn and then descends sharply as he approaches the low-lying concrete bridge over the San Marcos River. That’s after she waits at a stop sign to make sure the bridge is available; it’s only wide enough for one vehicle to pass at a time.

The bridge will be replaced with a wider one and its approaches will be reworked to accommodate easier passage.

Estimated project cost: $583,108
Construction contract total: $576,253
Contractor: Capital Excavation Co., Austin

RM 967 widening | Buda

The ranches are ever scarcer as one drives west out of Buda on Ranch-to-Market Road 967. The 2.6 miles of RM 967 between Cole Springs Road and FM 1626 is flanked by residential subdivisions that include Creekside Park (170 lots), Cullen Country (210 lots), Garlic Creek West (167 lots), Coves of Cimarron (270 lots) and Leisurewoods (300 lots) — just to name the larger ones.

A center turn lane and paved shoulders will be added to the roadway, improvements intended to aid traffic flow between Old Town Buda and FM 1626, undergoing its own long-awaited widening.

Estimated project cost: $5,390,707
Construction contract total: $4,408,237
Contractor: Capital Excavation Co., Austin

Oak Grove Road bridge | Near Luling

The low-water bridge where Oak Grove Road crosses the west fork of Plum Creek in Caldwell County will be replaced with a wider one.

Estimated project cost: $900,922
Construction contract total: $817,057
Contractor: Tmes LLC, San Antonio



COVER PHOTO by MATTHEW RUTLEDGE. MERCURY ILLUSTRATION by BRAD ROLLINS.

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4 thoughts on “TxDOT lets $5.8M contracts for Hays, Caldwell road projects

  1. I wonder if the new San Marcos river bridge is the bridge that will ultimately be used for Loop 110.

  2. SMsince95,

    I wondered the same thing and did some map overlays to check. Neither of the FM 110 shapefiles I have in the Mercury’s voluminous map vault come near the Old Bastrop Highway bridge (shown with the blue “A” place marker).
    ► The orange road on the map below is from a shapefile — previously published in the Mercury — I receive from the project engineer via the county in either late 2011 or early 2012. It shows the intended route based on the road design at the time.
    ► The red road is from the Hays County Transportation Plan, which is newer by about a year, but none of the new roads in that document are intended to depict a specific route. The lines are just broad representations of a planned road’s general purpose in the scheme of things. (You can see this in how the red line diverges from the orange line in between McCarty Lane and Texas 123, a segment of FM 110 which is already constructed according to the orange alignment.)
    ► Bottom line: Can’t say for sure because these things can change but neither of these cross the San Marcos River near the Old Bastrop Highway bridge. My best guess is that the CR 266 bridge is unrelated to FM 110, but I’ll see if I can find out something more definitive from the county; I’m curious about it myself.

  3. I made some calls in response to the inquiry about the Old Bastrop Highway bridge…

    ► Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, who is immediate past president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, was at the statewide group’s annual conference today. I have a call into her office but I wasn’t able to get as much detail as I would have liked on the subject. FM 110, except the portion in Caldwell County, is in Ingalsbe’s precinct.
    ► However, Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley told me this morning that FM 110 was engineered and designed years ago using money from the 2002 countywide bond project and that the road’s route is firm (as depicted, unless I am mistaken, by the orange line). He said the CR 266 bridge over the San Marcos River is a separate CIP project unrelated to FM 110.
    ► At one point, a segment of FM 110 was supposed to follow the route of the Old Bastrop Highway (CR 266), but that was scratched a long time ago. CR 266 and Texas 21 (between San Marcos to just west of Bryan) were built in the footprint of the Old San Antonio Road which is part of the federally designated El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, local historian Lila Knight of Kyle told me.
    ► Knight and I did not go into detail about what level of protection that historical designation confers on the Old Bastrop Highway but it’d probably be difficult to transform it into a major new highway, politically if not legally. The National Park Service’s comprehensive management plan for the El Camino Real trail is here: http://goo.gl/LOj6v7
    ► This is more detail than anyone asked for but sometimes I can’t help but geeking out on transportation issues.

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