Officials recommend $32M overpass or underpass crossing Hwy. 79 in Hutto

Hutto city officials on Jan. 3 previewed a potential overpass/underpass that would cross of Hwy. 79 and the Union Pacific rail line in the city.

Hutto city officials on Jan. 3 previewed a potential overpass/underpass that would cross of Hwy. 79 and the Union Pacific rail line in the city.

This article has been updated with information regarding construction on Limmer Loop, as well as clarified comments from Hutto City Manager Odis Jones.

Hutto city officials presented the first glimpse of a proposed $32 million overpass or underpass crossing over Hwy. 79 during presentations of committee recommendations for use of recently approved bond funds.

Hutto City Engineer Matt Rector and Jessica Romigh, chair of the Hutto Planning and Zoning Commission, presented their recommendations on transportation projects and drainage solutions to Hutto City Council Jan. 3. The presentation follows the city of Hutto's successful November bond propositions.

The overpass/underpass, if approved, will help to seamlessly connect the northern and southern sections of Hutto that are bisected by the Union Pacific rail line that runs parallel to Hwy. 79, according to Rector.

"We don’t have to section the town in half anymore. It is better for the police department; it is better for the fire department; it is better for everyone," Rector told council.

Plans for the overpass/underpass are still in the early stages of development and will need approval from council moving forward. The preliminary plans show the connector located between CR 132 and CR 134 near Hwy. 79. The overpass/underpass would connect to CR 132 north of Hwy. 79.

In all, Rector and Romigh presented recommendation for a list of $70 million worth of projects, which would account for all of the bond funds approved by voters in November.

The three FM 1660 intersection improvements mentioned in the bond language will account for $6 million in bond funds, per the recommendations.

Hutto City Council voted on Jan. 3 to approve the use of city funds to begin preliminary work, such as design, on those projects before the city issues the bonds later this spring. Those city funds will be reimbursable by the bond funds.

Other projects listed in the recommendations include $10 million for Cottonwood Creek drainage improvements; $3 million for a pedestrian crossing over or under Hwy. 79; $1.5 million for improvements on and a possible expansion of CR 137; $550,000 for three separate drainage projects in the Legends of Hutto subdivision and $16.95 million for street reconstruction in Hutto's Old Town.

Hutto City Manager Odis Jones recommended beginning design on all of the projects recommended to council, including the FM 1660 intersection projects mentioned in the November bond language, Old Town work and the Cottonwood Creek drainage project.

Construction on the Limmer Loop sidewalk project was delayed in the fall after improvements to the intersection at Limmer Loop and FM 1660 N. was included in the November bond proposition. As preivously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, designs for the project have been retained for later use, per city documents. Costs related to the project are eligible to reimbursement by federal funding.

Rector recommended that some of the other projects listed at the Jan. 3 council meeting be allowed to run through the city's engineering department before council votes to direct funds to the projects.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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