Hays County supports potential RR 12, U.S. 290 study

Hays County leaders gave support to placing the Ranch Road 12 and U.S. 290 intersection in Dripping Springs into a potential study that could one day lead to improvements.

By a unanimous vote, Hays County Commissioners Dec. 5 approved a resolution supporting the submission of that intersection into the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organizations’ (CAMPO) Platinum Planning Study.

The study could also allow officials to create a new plan for transportation projects that could lead to a city center in Dripping Springs. 

Hays County Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said the Highway 290 and Ranch Road 12 transportation project is a traffic focal point for many Hays County residents.

“This (resolution) gives the city an opportunity to access funds from CAMPO and provides, by this cooperative or co-sponsorship, the ability for Hays County to be directly involved in the planning so that it provides the best opportunity for citizens in this transportation improvement effort,” Whisenant said.

Hays County attorney Mark Kennedy confirmed that the resolution did not preempt funding for the project from Hays County, but supported the submittal of the application to be included in the planning of the project.

CAMPO sought proposals from local governments for potential studies. CAMPO staff evaluates the proposals before they are approved into the CAMPO 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program.

However, the city of Dripping Springs, which also passed a resolution in favor of submitting the intersection for study, had to obtain a resolution from Hays County, which has ownership. In addition, if the intersection is selected for a study, Hays County would be required to pay a 20 percent match for the study cost. 

Gandalf Burrus, who spoke on behalf of the resolution, said the study’s scope would cover more than just the single project.

“The study is actually going to do more than 290 and RR12. It will be both a corridor study of 290 and RR12 extending about a half mile in each direction and it will also study a city center centered on Mercer Street,” Burrus said.

Burrus said the corridor study would look at road congestion, land use, environmental usage, trails, bike and pedestrian usage and other types of transportation.

Burrus also said the study would bring together all the smaller transportation project plans by both Hays County and the city of Dripping Springs into one cohesive document for better comprehension.

Whisenant said the reason that the county chose to pass a resolution in support of the Hwy 290 and RR12 study was because it presented the best opportunity for the county, the city of Dripping Springs and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to work together.

Whisenant said Hays County was interested in co-sponsorship with Dripping Springs on the CAMPO application as the city would have an increased chance to receive the grant funding if more entities were involved.

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