By Andy Sevilla
Road improvements on RM 967 are expected in the coming months after the Texas Transportation Commission approved funding to widen a 2.6-mile stretch of the 15-mile roadway.
The commission also approved $576,000 to replace the Hays County Road 266 Bridge over the San Marcos River, in an unincorporated area southeast of river’s namesake.
Buda’s $4.4 million project will improve RM 967 between Cole Spring Road and FM 1626. The road improvements along the residential-heavy stretch will consist of adding a center-turn lane and paved shoulders.
“It’s really going to improve safety on that road more than anything,” Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said. “Once the Truck Bypass is done, that road will be city of Buda property. It’s one piece of the puzzle that will help get big rigs out of the area.”
The RM 967 road improvement joins a list of three other ongoing Hays County and TxDOT partnership road projects in the county’s Precinct 2. The two agencies have teamed up on the Buda Truck Bypass (I-35 to FM 1626), FM 2001 realignment (I-35 to SH 21) and the FM 150 West alignment study (west of Arroyo Ranch Blvd. to I-35).
The more than half-a-million dollar project southeast of San Marcos will involve replacing the County Road 266 Bridge over the river, as well as the approaches.
“I’m really excited about this project, this is really going to enhance the safety of that bridge,” Hays County Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said, adding that the bridge is dangerous, specifically for the heavy trucks that travel over it.
Ingalsbe said the bridge improvement was supposed to materialize a few years ago, but funding fell through on it. The county did add signage alerting drivers of the narrow infrastructure, but its replacement is much needed and highly anticipated, she said.
“It’s going to be a great safety improvement project for our county and for our residents traveling on that roadway.”
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in June awarded both the RM 967 and County Road 266 Bridge contracts to Capital Excavation Company of Austin.
The Texas Transportation Commission, including the Hays County projects, also awarded $817,000 to rebuild the Oak Grove Road Bridge over the West Fork of Plum Creek in Caldwell County; $1.3 million to replace the US 290 bridge over Rocky Creek in Blanco County; $226,000 to replace the bridge on Llano County Road 216; and $816,000 to replace guardrails and making culvert improvements on SH 95 in Williamson County between US 79 in Taylor and the Travis County line.
State Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood said in a statement that it’s imperative to have reliable roadways connecting rural and urban citizens in Texas, through diligence in designing and maintaining those roads with safety in mind.
“Keeping everyone safe on the road is our first priority,” he said. “We must do everything we can to get the driving public safely to their destinations and home to their families at the end of the day.”