by KIM HILSENBECK
Narrow, dangerous and inadequate: these are some of the adjectives used to describe the 1.3 mile stretch of Dacy Lane that runs from Goforth Road to Bebee Road on the east side of Kyle before it got a facelift.
At Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, guest speakers called the newly completed section of the road smooth, comfortable and safe. They touted the new road, which required 10,000 tons of asphalt, as an improvement in the quality of life of Kyle citizens.
“Dacy Lane has been transformed,” said Debbie Ingalsbe, Hays County Commissioner Precinct 1, to a crowd of about 40 people.
That upgraded portion of Dacy Lane now has sidewalks in both directions, allowing a safer way for residents and students to walk between Bebee Road and Goforth Road.
The construction project, led by Hays County, took almost two years to complete, though the planning began in 2007. The final cost came in 21 percent below the original estimate, according to Ingalsbe.
The original bid for the road work was $10 million; the final cost was $7.8 million with Kyle’s contribution totalling $1.4 million. Hays County used certificates of obligation to fund the project rather than taking the issue to the voters for a bond package.
Ingalsbe also acknowledged the partnerships between the various entities that made the project possible; Hays County, the city of Kyle, Seton Hospital and several Dacy Lane landowners. Mark Jones, Hays County Commissioner Precinct 2, said the project was a good example of an effective partnership.
Those partnerships weren’t always as amicable. Early in the project, Kyle city leaders told Hays County it wasn’t able to pay for its share of the road construction – about $2 million originally.
However, once the city of Kyle resolved the funding issues with the county, things went much smoother.
Mayor Pro-tem Diane Hervol thanked Dacy Lane residents for their patience during the construction.
“This road is an investment for the city of Kyle,” said Hervol, “and one of many planned future road improvements.”
One resident from the Kensington Trail neighborhood who attended the ceremony said area residents had an extra eight-mile drive around the construction every day for more than a year, but said it was worth the wait.
Graham Moore, the project manager from the engineering firm LAN that led the construction, said the project was started in October 2010 and was scheduled for completion in 18 months.
“We had some problems with moving existing telecommunication utilities, so the project took a little over the projected 18 months,” Moore said.
Before the roadwork, a low-water crossing at that section of Dacy Lane was notorious for washing out during heavy rains, causing headaches for local residents who had to find alternate routes.
Moore told the crowd about several engineering changes to the stretch, which used to be a two-lane county road. Those changes included smoothing out two near right-angle turns, raising the creek crossing 11 feet and building what Moore called the gem of the project – a 600-foot span bridge.
“This new section of the road will provide better mobility for everyone,” Moore said. “Especially during the construction that will realign the IH-35 feeder roads from two-way to one-way.”
Moore said LAN is working on the preliminary design to upgrade Dacy Lane to Hillside Terrace, but at this point, no money has been allocated.