Kyle seeks options on fixing west side traffic problem

Congestion caused by stop signs on Rebel Drive at Silverado is leading Kyle officials to contemplate ways to fix the issue, including the possibility of a roundabout.

The topic came up Sept. 3, with city leaders directing City Manager Scott Sellers to present options to mitigate the problem and to determine how much each would cost.

Sellers said traffic flow issues on Rebel Drive at Silverado have been discussed for “some time” at staff level after they realized stop signs caused significant delays. Those issues have been magnified since Hays CISD students returned to classes in mid-August.

The Kyle City Council approved installation of the stop signs in May as a way to address an increase in traffic detouring off of Burleson Street into the Silverado subdivision and onto Rebel Drive. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) installed the signs in July.

City staff felt “confident” that a traffic control device was needed for the area, Sellers said. However, Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell worried the city is at risk of creating a traffic issue caused by diverting traffic off of Burleson Street and that the city is “never going to solve that problem.”

“No one complained about this (intersection) until we shut down Burleson Street to start construction,” Mitchell said.

One solution centered on a possible roundabout, recommended by city staff, that could have an estimated $500,000 price tag.

Sellers said if the city chooses a roundabout, officials could opt for an advanced funding agreement (AFA) with TxDOT that could cover all or part of the design, utility and construction costs.

Sellers said it takes roughly a year for the AFA process to be completed, with construction of a roundabout taking six to eight months. It’s unknown at this time what, if any, utility easement relocations might be needed, as well as if Kyle must work with Hays County over property that is needed for the traffic control device.

While installation of a traffic signal could cost $250,000 and would be entirely funded by TxDOT, the process of getting one installed could take anywhere from three to five years, Sellers said. He based the estimate on the city’s attempt for a signal at the FM 1626 at Dorman intersection that’s been in the works for more than three years and won’t be installed until summer 2020.

Along with going through the AFA process, Kyle would have to work with TxDOT for a traffic study, which won’t take place until Burleson Street is completed in 2020.

Mitchell said he preferred a roundabout at the Rebel Drive intersection, but was concerned if the city had any utilities to move. He cited delays in fixing Burleson Street due to unknown utility easements.

However, Kyle city council member Daphne Tenorio supported the signal as TxDOT is slated to foot the bill. Tenorio also questioned where Sellers was going to get the $500,000 for the roundabout.

“That has to be part of the question,” Tenorio said. “If you want it (a roundabout), you have to figure out how to pay for it.”

Other possible solutions include removing the stop signs and creating a middle turn lane on Rebel Drive, as well as bringing in temporary or mobile traffic signals.

However, the temporary signals could prove more costly. Council member Tracy Sheely opposed the middle turn lane, which she called a “chicken lane.” She cited existing problems with a middle turn lane on east FM 150 near Lehman Road.

Council member Alex Villalobos said it was “worth the exercise” to look at all options. Villalobos said reopening Burleson Street could alleviate traffic issues on Rebel Drive.

“We should look at all costs, but something could change by the time they reopen that road,” Villalobos said.

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