The Hays County Commissioners Court is expected to address a letter from the Travis County Commissioners Court Sept. 27 regarding the SH 45 gap road project to connect I-35 and South MoPac. The project is meant to connect SH 45 and South MoPac, creating an I-35 alternative.

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted Sept. 13 to send the letter to Hays County, as previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, to “make clear our opposition to this action by Hays County.”

On Aug. 30, the Hays County commissioners approved a $2.5 million contract for engineering services with CP&Y, Inc. for the road project in a 4-1 vote with Judge Ruben Becerra dissenting, citing “conflicting messages.”

Prior to the vote, Hays County commissioners Mark Jones and Walt Smith said they had discussed the project with Travis County commissioners Jeffrey Travillion, Ann Howard and Margaret Gomez.

Initially, Jones said Hays County should look to Travis County for their feedback on the discussion and project.

“I don’t want to speak for them,” Jones said.

However, both he and Smith went on to say the conversations were “very positive.”

“We are writing this letter to make clear that that is not an accurate portrayal of [Travillion, Gomez and Howard’s] views and furthermore, to explicitly communicate to Hays County our opposition to their action,” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said at the Sept. 13 meeting.

She added that both Travis County and the city of Austin have opposed the construction of this road project, on the record, as it would be built directly over the most sensitive areas of the Edwards Aquifer.

“For that reason, for many years, it has not been constructed,” Shea said.

Shea added she previously asked Mike Heiligenstein, the former head of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, if they had plans to connect I-35 to MoPac via SH 45. He said they did not; however, he would not put it in writing, she said.

“He is now one of the chief consultants being paid by Hays County to do this very thing,” Shea said.

The letter itself goes on that the Travis County transportation plan does not have the SH 45 gap project in it, and neither does the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization regional transportation plan.

“We request you halt action on this study until such collaboration and coordination is undertaken,” the letter said.

Community Impact Newspaper reached out to Hays County for comment but did not receive a response as of press time.