Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday voted 5-0 to approve the lowest bid received in a competitive bidding process for improvements to FM 1626 between FM 967 and Brodie Lane. SEMA Construction, Inc., a full-service construction company with corporate offices in Colorado and a district office in Austin, got the nod with a bid of $17.2 million, below the engineering estimate of $20.2 million and well under the $23.4 million estimated in the 2008 road bond package approved by voters.
“We’ve been waiting more than 10 years to get this project started,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said, referring to the lengthy amount of time it took for federal agencies to review various documents. “The improvements will help mobility and safety for the many vehicles using that road traveling to schools, neighborhoods and businesses along the northern part of FM 1626. The County recognized more than 10 years ago the impact that growth in Hays County was having on roads and began the improvement plan even before we had money to build it.”
FM 1626 between Brodie Lane in Travis County and FM 967 in Hays County will become five lanes wide, including a turn lane, and have fewer harrowing curves and dips. Construction is expected to start within four to six weeks, Jones said.
“There will be traffic delays due to construction from time to time, but I believe everyone who uses that road understands the results will be worth it. The one thing it won’t alleviate is the bottleneck where traffic moves onto Brodie Lane in Travis County, which is a two-lane road through neighborhoods that is the most direct route to Loop 1 and other areas around Austin. Constructing State Highway 45 SW to directly connect FM 1626 to Loop 1 is the only realistic resolution to that issue.”
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 the 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 FM 1626 construction project, the County is prioritizing a bond project to construct a bridge to replace the low water crossing on Lakewood Drive to help ensure all-weather access to 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, visit https://improve1626.com
For a pdf version of this release, click here.