Road extension open house slated for March 20

Since the 1970s, the city of Buda has been trying to find ways to get big rigs out of its downtown district, said Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones.

The county is partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation on a road extension project that promises to do just that.

Robert S. Light Boulevard is slated to be extended about 1.8 miles from FM 967 to FM 1626.

"It's been a long time coming," Jones said. "And this is really the only solution that will get trucks out of downtown Buda."

An open house will be held on March 20 at Elm Grove Elementary School in Buda from 6–8 p.m. The meeting provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions about the project. Maps of the route and other details of the plan will be provided as well.

Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said once the project is done, plans call for deeding FM 967 and a portion of FM 2770 to the city.

"What's important to the city is they'll be our roads, and we can put weight restrictions on them," Ruge said. "We can eliminate big rig traffic from downtown Buda."

The road extension and subsequent changing hands of the roadways can potentially spark positive change in the community, the mayor said.

Reducing the flow of truck traffic on Main Street is part of the city's broader plan to improve downtown, making it safer and friendlier to non-vehicular forms of transportation.

Funding will come from the county and the state, with the county taking care of the right of way, engineering and design while TxDOT handles the construction, Jones said. There are no up-front costs for Buda, he said.

"From what I understand right now, it looks like a positive deal for the city," Ruge said. "The state would like to get those off the maintenance books and give them to Buda. It's really a win-win for both parties."

The project has been in the planning stages for eight to 10 years, Jones said. The route and funding mechanisms were hammered out in the last two to three years, he said.

Jones said the project will be mutually advantageous for each party. Homeowners are not being displaced, and the project will not cut through environmentally sensitive land, he said.

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