By Moses Leos III
Changes could be coming to northbound Interstate 35 between FM 1626 and FM 150 in Kyle as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) contemplates improvements in the name of safety.
Last week, TxDOT held an open house on its plans for a series of four “ramp reversals” that will occur between the Kyle Crossing and FM 150/Center Street bridge.
The project also calls for the construction of a 12-foot auxiliary lane, or an extended entrance/exit lane, along the northbound frontage road of the project
Kelli Reyna, TxDOT public information officer, said in an emailed response the auxiliary lane would allow vehicles the “ability to safely merge onto the main lanes or the option to bypass the traffic signal.”
TxDOT’s project will also create a new bridge over Plum Creek.
The project, which TxDOT estimates could begin by spring 2018 and completed by winter 2019/2020, would reverse ramp configurations.
Reyna said in an emailed response there are no issues with current ramp configurations.
But as development occurs between the intersections, the proposed changes would allow drivers to “access the main lanes (of I-35) and avoid the traffic signals,” Reyna said.
Reversing the ramps will allow, “weaving movements to take place” on the frontage roads, which have lower speeds and traffic volume than the main lanes, Reyna said.
She added the improvements allow intersections at Kyle Parkway and Kyle Crossing to operate “more efficiently.”
According to Reyna, improvements could reduce the amount of traffic going to the signals, along with preventing traffic from backing up onto the main lanes.
“This results in a safer configuration,” Reyna said.
Also included in the improvements is the addition of a 10-foot shared-use path. It is unknown, however, how much of a buffer there will be between the shared-use path and the frontage road.
TxDOT is also currently conducting an environmental study on the construction of the new bridge spanning Plum Creek. Reyna said TxDOT will consider “all environmental impacts during this study.”
Construction for the project, which is estimated at $18.9 million, has not been funded at this time, Reyna said. Project development has been funded by TxDOT, according to My35.org.
Construction costs could be shared among multiple entities, including the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Hays County, Reyna said.
“The project has not been funded and could be funded a myriad of different ways,” Reyna said.