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 Liberty Hill Real Estate Blog 
Friday, 05 September 2008

Whether you like the decision by the Williamson County commissioners or not, at least they have FINALLY come to an agreement and a decision on the future expansion of HWY 29 through or around Liberty Hill, TX.  This study and discussion has been going on for over a year now, and has literally stopped any sales activity along the HWY 29 corridor for commerical properties in Liberty Hill, TX.  It has also taken a toll on many of the residential developments as well in the last 6 months.  You can read the county's comments about their decisions below and then follow the link to see the maps of the improvements from Georgetown to the Burnet County Line...

 SH 29 STUDY RESULTS

For almost a year, we have met with Williamson County residents regarding the State Highway 29 Study, which was launched to proactively address the County’s two greatest issues – safety and mobility. 

Transportation issues are vital because of Williamson County ’s steady and continuous growth; we have been the second or third-fastest-growing county in the state for the last seven years.  And, several of our cities have experienced phenomenal growth.  Leander’s population was approximately 3,000 people in 1990 and is more than 30,000 today.  Georgetown grew from a city of 28,000 in 2000 to more than 48,000 today.  Hutto was home to 1,250 people in 2000, but more than 17,000 people call it home today.  

As we look toward the future, our county must plan in smart and prudent ways.   Today, approximately 20,000 new residences have already been platted in the surrounding area; that translates into 50,000 to 60,000 more people who would use SH 29 in the next 20 years.  More is anticipated.   This growth’s impact to SH 29, as the only remaining east-west road for the entire county, needed to be studied.

An important part of this analysis has been citizen input.  Thank you for your participation in this process; we value your feedback.  More than 600 Williamson County residents attended the three open houses; we’ve participated in more than 40 meetings with individuals and groups and responded to more than 400 e-mails and phone calls. 

You shared your concerns with us about existing safety issues such as pulling out onto SH 29 from neighborhoods and the lack of overall mobility in northwestern Williamson County – a good example was the evening of the August 4th meeting when a fire shut down SH 29 and alternate routes were badly needed. We have also heard your interest in a smaller footprint for the project to lessen the impact, as well as your preferences for roadway alignments that keep businesses in business.  Based on your input, today we are announcing the following.

1.       To address safety concerns, we will create a community-based safety/mobility task force in the next 30 days to examine and recommend ways to improve overall transportation safety and mobility on SH 29 for residents, businesses and visitors, while minimizing impacts to neighborhoods and communities.  The task force will include local officials, TxDOT representatives, county representatives, school districts, local law enforcement, first responders and EMS representatives.  This would be paid for using the County’s safety and mobility funds.

2.       To address mobility in northwestern Williamson County , we are announcing a comprehensive road-improvement plan for the area that will focus on the expansion and upgrades of local county roads and arterials including CR 200, CR 279, CR 214 and FM3405.  This comprehensive northwest plan will be incorporated into the updated long-range transportation plan, which is currently under development; once completed it will be submitted to the Commissioners’ Court for consideration – most likely, early next year.

 3.       To address the concern about a 400-foot purchase of right-of-way, the footprint has been scaled back to approximately 300 feet (this is 300 feet in total, not additional amount to what already exists).  This would preserve space for eight lanes – four access lanes (frontage roads for safety) and four express lanes (no stoplights).

4.       Based on the work of the engineering firm and input from the public, we have selected the combination alignment from west of D. B. Wood Rd. to Ronald Reagan Blvd.  The selection of this particular alignment is intended to minimize the amount of residential and business displacement in the area.

5.       After much study, we have also concluded that Highway 29 cannot be expanded on the existing road through the Liberty Hill area due to engineering and environmental issues and the exorbitant increase in the cost of the project.  As a result, we have selected the southern bypass alignment from the Burnet County Line to Ronald Reagan Blvd.  The selection of the southern alignment is also inteded to minimize the amount of residential and business displacement in the area. 

 In addition, both segments of the alignment have been further tweaked over the last month to address engineering issues and public concerns.   A map will be available on the Web site; please visit http://www.wilcogov.org/tabid/914/language/en-US/Default.aspx.

This SH 29 expansion will NOT be built until it is needed; construction would take place only when overall traffic volumes significantly increase, resulting in traffic congestion at both peak and non-peak periods.  We estimate that the road would not be built for at least 15 years, depending on traffic counts and safety issues along the highway.

By working to preserve options for SH 29 today, we are able to focus on the purchase of land, rather than the purchase of land and buildings in an effort to reduce the cost to our taxpayers.  We also believe that by informing people today about where the road will go in the future – at least 15 years into the future – everyone can plan better.

Moving forward, we will talk with willing sellers along this planned route to begin purchasing property at fair-market value.  These purchases would be funded through money specifically identified for State Highway or TxDOT projects in the 2006 Bond Program and would require approval by the Commissioners’ Court.  However, much of the funding for purchase of property would come from future road-bond programs, which would be voted on by the citizens of Williamson County .   We believe taking these steps will help address safety and mobility concerns for our citizens today and will best preserve our options for dealing with them in the future.  For more information about the study and the selected alignment, please visit http://www.wilcogov.org/tabid/914/language/en-US/Default.aspx.

Thank you for your input and participation in this important process for Williamson County .

Commissioner Valerie Covey , Precinct 3

Commissioner Cynthia Long , Precinct 2

Posted by: Shane AT 09:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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13561 Hwy. 29 West
Liberty Hill, Texas 78642
Phone: (512) 515-5263
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