Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Hays County is moving forward with the final phases of project development for the FM 1626 project from FM 967 to Brodie Lane with construction slated to begin this Summer. The FM 1626 project is one of the Pass-Through Finance projects Hays County is developing in coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The County is responsible for acquiring right-of-way and relocating utilities, along with providing construction funding. FM 1626 North is the first project in the Pass-Through Finance program that the County will let and manage the construction. Other projects completed under the program include the expansion of US 290 and the bridge and frontage road improvements at Interstate 35 and CR 210 (Kyle Crossing). TxDOT’s reimbursement for the FM 1626 North project represents $36.4 million of the $133.17 million total reimbursements for the program. The total estimated FM 1626 North project cost is $38 million. Travis County is developing the next section of FM 1626 to FM 2304 and has approved their Pass-Through Finance Agreement with TxDOT.
“The County has waited a very long time for this dangerous stretch of road to be widened and made safer for our residents and visitors,” said Precinct Two Commissioner Mark Jones. “The voters authorized bond money for this project in 2008 and we’ve worked very hard with TxDOT to get to this important milestone. The County will be using the latest construction methods and we look forward to building a quality road for Hays County that is safer, more attractive and supports our economic development programs.”
A key aspect of the FM 1626 North design has been the development of Context Sensitive Design (CSD) features that reflect stakeholder input obtained as a result of County-sponsored CSD workshops. Specific features developed and incorporated into the construction plans include:
- Developing a portion of the corridor as an “urban design” section with a reduced design speed
- Enhanced pedestrian features including sidewalks in the urban section and on key bridges
- Water quality features that include a hazard material trap near Little Bear Creek
- Removal of several low water crossings to restore stream bed to a more natural state
- Earth tone stained concrete for new structures
- Wildflower seeding
- Minimizing ROW impacts by effective use of existing roadway footprint
In addition to the construction plan components, the County is prioritizing a bond project to construct a bridge to replace the low water crossing on Lakewood Drive to ensure access to Lakewood from FM 1626.
The County has set up an FM 1626 North Construction Update website that will provide construction schedules, progress reports and photos, and traffic routing and closure alerts, along with contact information. To view information and request updates, please go to www.improve1626.com. Other elements of the Public Information Program the County is implementing for this project include close coordination with residents, neighborhood associations, business owners, churches and schools along the FM 1626 North alignment, the region’s fire, police, emergency management and social services, and variable message signing along the project providing roadway status information.
For updates on other projects in the Hays County Pass-Through Finance Program and Priority Bond Program, please go to the Hays County Home Page at www.co.hays.tx.us and click on the 2008 Road Bond Projects Status link.