Members of the community were invited to learn more about the plans for the improvement project at an open house, held July 18 at Buda City Hall. Mayor George Haehn also attended the event and spoke with residents, including Liz Shelton, who said she is in support of the project.
“Initially, change is going to be scary, but if we look at the long term into next year … I think it’s going to be good for everybody,” said Shelton, who has lived in Buda for 13 years.
The improvement project, part of the $55 million bond package approved by Buda voters in November 2014, will cover the stretch of Main Street between Railroad Street and Cabela's Drive.
Major components of the improvement plan include the widening of Main Street west of Cabela's Drive and adding sidewalks along the road. City officials told Community Impact Newspaper that certain portions of Main Street will not be widened in order to preserve trees in the area.
Kenny Crawford, the city’s project manager, led the open house, answering questions and sharing details related to construction, which will be carried out in three separate phases—first, lanes on the south side; second, lanes on the north side; and last, the middle lanes.
The first phase of construction includes installing a traffic light at the intersection of Main Street and Sequoyah Street, near the city’s municipal complex. The intersection will be closed off to those driving north on Sequoyah Street toward Main Street, but will remain open for southbound travel. Construction on the project will also lead to Main Street being reduced to two lanes.
Crawford said the city’s goal is to finish the three phases by early May 2020. Transparency and communication on Main Street improvements, he said, is a major priority for the city and his team.
“If we provide expectation management about what’s happening and what’s going to happen, then I think it’s a little more palatable for the commuters on the road,” Crawford said.
City documents showed that approximately $1.45 million of the $12.55 million approved for street and road improvements as part of the 2014 bond package has already been spent on design and engineering. Buda Director of Communications David Marino said construction is projected to cost an additional $4.19 million.
“This project is separate from Main Street improvements planned for RM 967,” Marino added.