Traffic snarls plague FM 1626 construction

Heavy congestion is expected to continue along south FM 1626 at the intersections of RM 967 and FM 2770 as Hays County starts the next phase of its safety expansion project.

Mark Jones, Hays County Pct. 2 Commissioner, said traffic delays resulting from the improvement project will continue until December 2019, despite county leaders’ efforts to help speed up the process.

“I tell people it’s like remodeling your kitchen,” Jones said. “You don’t like doing it but you’re happy with the results when it’s done.”

Improvements under the FM 1626 project are meant to “improve safety and mobility in the corridor” by widening the road to include two lanes in each direction of travel, according to the project’s website. The project will widen lanes, as well as add shoulders, turn lanes and sidewalks.

In 2015, Hays County completed the first half of the FM 1626 project, which spanned Brodie Lane in Travis County to RM 967. The second half of the project would expand FM 1626 from RM 967 to FM 2770.

However, the resulting construction has led to numerous traffic issues on the already narrow roadway.

In order to help mitigate the congestion, Hays County Pct. 5 Constable John Ellen and his deputies will be manually working the light at FM 1626 and FM 2770.

Hays County Pct. 2 ConstableM and his deputies will also help as needed. Jones said the county plans to have deputies manually work the intersection until temporary traffic signals are installed with sensors.

“Hopefully this will help a little, but still expect delays and plan ahead,” Jones said.

Jones said that the county was working with Hays CISD to help schools in the area, such as Elm Grove Elementary and Dahlstrom Middle School, where parents and buses would be able to efficiently pick up and drop off children.

However, Jones said the best alternative may be to avoid FM 1626 altogether. As of Monday, Jones estimated traffic times on northbound FM 1626 exceeding 45 minutes to reach RM 967.

“If at all possible avoid FM 1626 northbound,” Jones said. “Taking an alternative route is going to be better than what we do here.”

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