The second and final phase of the FM 150 road improvement plan was given the green light by Hays County Commissioners Oct. 10.
Joe Cantalupo, vice president of K Friese Associates and project manager of the FM 150 West Character Plan, recommended Oct. 3 commissioners approve the presented plan as complete.
Main parts of the recommended plan include widening shoulders, inserting roundabouts, and creating a bypass going from FM 150 to FM 967, among other road improvements.
The character plan is a study covering the area from Arroyo Ranch Road in Kyle to FM 12 in Dripping Springs. The corridor was identified in the 2013 Hays County Transportation Plan as an area that would need improvements in order to expand capacity for the growth in the area and continue to ensure safety.
In order to update and preserve the road, the county hired K Friese and Associates to conduct a more than three year study on the road, which is now in its final stages.
K Friese began its study in May 2014; the county established a Citizens Advisory Panel in order to hear comments and recommendations from the community in the area. The first phase of the plan, the Features and Themes Report, was concluded in 2016. The final public meeting was held in July 2017.
Highlights of phase two consist of refining concepts identified in the first phase and obtaining additional comments on certain areas. Also developed were preliminary planning alignments for each of the intersections studied including cross sections, target speeds throughout the county, and determined right-of-way widths.
One main segment that will be widened is on FM 150 from Arroyo Ranch road to FM 3237. Within this section there are two focus intersections, at FM 3237 and one where the potential bypass would take begin with a preference for roundabouts.
Although there are other intersections in the study, Cantalupo says that these two intersections are being studied more in-depth.
The plan also highlights a bypass that would take off from just south or east of FM 3237, go through the Rutherford Ranch and connect to FM 967 near the Pedernales Electric Cooperative substation. This bypass section includes where FM 967 connects to FM 1826 and then back to FM 150 and would include upgrades on these roads and intersections as well.
Community engagement in the project was an important part of the plan and thousands of comments were taken into consideration. In each phase there was extensive opportunity for public comment through public meetings and the Citizens Advisory Panel meetings.
Some parts of the FM 150 plan have been contentious with some of the public as people want to preserve historical property, their own private property and the essence of the long winding roads of the Hill Country. Cantalupo says they have tried to take as much of this into account as they can.
“This was a very community focused, community rich engagement process,” Cantalupo said.