By Paige Lambert
The intersection of FM 1626 and 967 near Buda will finally see relief from its construction limbo.
Construction on FM 1626 south of FM 967 to FM 2770 will begin in September and take about 10 months, Hays County commissioner Mark Jones said.
Jones said 967 west of the intersection would relatively stay the same, since there are no more developments planned between FM 1626 and 1826. He said FM 967 was planned to have four to five lanes.
“There were four subdivisions out here, but since then Austin has bought so much land, there isn’t going to be a lot out there.”
The improvements stem from years of negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), since 1626 and 967 are technically owned by the state, Jones said.
He said TxDOT would reimburse $133 million from county projects on state roads. Since the roads are being used more than expected, the county is receiving reimbursements quicker, he said.
Eventually, FM 967 from 1626 to downtown Buda could be owned by the city, Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said.
If it becomes a city road, Buda could set weight and speed limits, install lights or improve right of ways, Ruge said.
“A lot of that (intersection) will become commercial developments as well,” Ruge said. “That will be a nice amount of tax revenue and our tax base will increase.”
Currently, Buda owns most of the land around the intersection, Ruge said.
Ruge added the city plans to control the growth as it continues with its annexation plans.
“We’ve been very selective and part of that is to curb growth,” Ruge said. “I see this as a way to prepare for the future.”
However the county is trying to stay ahead of the growth stampede, according to Jones. He said he hopes to propose a road bond that would fund eight TxDOT-partnered projects.
Jones said a road bond shouldn’t be a problem to pass in the November election even though the county recently put a jail bond on the ballot.
“It wouldn’t be any problem passing a road bond for the Buda/Kyle area, it’s just getting the rest of the county to support it,” Jones said.
The projects would include extending Robert S. Light Blvd to FM 1626 just south of Cole Springs Road, he said.
The extension would serve as a truck bypass and eventually an alternative to Interstate 35 once State Highway 45 Southwest is completed, Jones said. SH 45 should be completed in 18 months.
Having plans in hand helps encourage funding from entities like TxDOT or CAMPO.
“As we grow we are going to start having gridlock on 35,” Jones said. “Having things shovel ready puts you more at the top of the list.”