Hays County is expected to save as much as $34,356,131 on the 30 road projects that began after the 2008 Road Bond Election.
According to the pass-through finance, or PTF, and priority road bonds report presented by Allen Crozier of HDR Engineering and Mike Weaver of Prime Strategies Inc. at the Oct. 9 Hays County Commissioners Court meeting, the 21 priority road bond projects, which are being headed by HDR, will render $9,418,620 in savings. The nine PTF projects, which are being managed by HNTB Engineering and Prime Strategies, will render $24,937,511 in savings.
The PTF projects are eligible for a reimbursement from TxDOT of up to $133,170,000. The projected cost for all nine projects is $124,694,009, meaning the county will be left with $8,475,991, which HNTB Engineer Jeff Watson described as "impressive."
Debbie Gonzales-Ingalsbe, Precinct 1 commissioner, has four projects in her precinct and one that is shared with Precinct 2. Those projects were initially estimated to cost $67,201,600, but according to the report, the county is now expecting to see $10,229,573 in savings.
"The county is working hard to make sure we spend [taxpayers'] tax dollars wisely," Gonzales-Ingalsbe said.
Watson said the savings are coming from a variety of areas, so it is hard to pinpoint a single source, but Weaver attributed some of the savings to falling supply costs. Watson said when he looks back at 2008, when the projects started, he finds the current savings hard to believe.
TxDOT will reimburse the county for the PTF projects, and the final payment is scheduled to be made in the fourth quarter of 2027.
Hays County Budget Manager Vickie Wilhelm said the next two projects slated for completion are FM150 and the Kyle frontage roads.
"There's quite a bit of road projects," she said. "Those are huge and expensive, but TxDOT's ahead of schedule in paying us. They've almost completely paid for [Hwy.] 290."
Of the 30 projects, three PTF projects and eight priority road bond projects have been completed:
– US 290 West – Added four 11-foot travel lanes without shoulders to a 2.02-mile stretch of Hwy. 290
– I-35 Phase 1 (CR 210) – Reconstructed two-lane bridge over I-35 by adding north-south and south-north turnaround lanes; also constructed a section of frontage road along I-35
– I-35 at FM 2001 – Improved Overpass Road in Buda
– RM 12 at Sports Park Drive – Improved safety at the intersection of RM 12 and Sports Park Drive; also added left-turn lane from RM 12 onto Sports Park Drive
– RM 1826 at RM 967 – Improved safety at the intersection of RM 1826 and RM 967; also added left-turn lane from RM 1826 onto RM 967 and a right-turn lane from RM 967 onto RM 1826
– RM 12 at Hugo Road and Sink Creek – Improved safety at the intersection of RM 12 and Hugo Road; also added a left-turn lane from RM 12 onto Hugo Road
– RM 12 at Wonder World Drive – Added right- and left-turn lanes from RM 12 onto Wonder World Drive
– Hwy. 21 at High Road – Improved safety at the intersection of Hwy. 21 and High Road, added left-turn lane on Hwy. 21 onto High Road, widened shoulders of Hwy. 21 and improved High Road approach pavement
– Hwy. 21 at FM 2001 – Improved safety at the intersection of Hwy. 21 and FM 2001, added left-turn lane on Hwy. 21 onto RM 2001, widened shoulders on Hwy. 21 and improved approach pavement
– Lime Kiln Road at Sink Creek (study) – Conducted feasibility analyses and environmental studies regarding the replacement of the low-water crossing over Sink Creek
– Post Road at Blanco River (study) – conducted studies and feasibility analyses regarding the replacement of the low-water crossing over the Blanco River and under the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge
PTF Projects 18 and 19 will convert the 6.8-mile stretch of FM 1626 between FM 967 and Bliss Spillar Road from a two-lane rural roadway with no shoulders to a five-lane roadway with context-sensitive elements including sidewalks, curbs and gutter sections.
The original PTF agreement estimate put the cost of the two projects at $69,790,000, but the most recent cost projections put the costs at $68,840,000, $950,000 less than expected.
PTF Projects 23 and 24 will convert the frontage roads on I-35 between FM 1626 and FM 150 to one-way lanes and will realign FM150 east of I-35.
Watson said he expects the project to be fully completed in the next 12 to 14 months.
Project 20 is the first part of the proposed San Marcos Loop that would connect I-35 and McCarty Road with I-35 and Yarrington Road. The distance between the two points along the interstate is 9.8 miles.