The Kyle City Council and Hays County Commissioners Court signed onto an interlocal agreement to relocate the Center Street Union Pacific rail siding, or switching station, from its location near Center Street on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, respectively. The new rail siding will begin approximately 2,000 feet north of Burleson Street and end near Kohlers Crossing, according to the agreement.

A switching station is a section of tracks that run parallel to the railroad and allows one train to pull off the main track while another train passes. When a train pulls into the Center Street switching station, it can cause traffic jams and even pose a threat to public safety as emergency services must find an alternate route. Carlos Lopez, senior vice president at HNTB Corporation, said at the City Council meeting the relocation project will help mitigate the time spent waiting for the trains to pass each other.

The project has been in the works for a few years as the City Council approved $270,000 in 2017 to conduct a preliminary study for the relocation. It finally came to fruition when City Council members amended their budget Nov. 1 to allocate $1.23 million toward costs directly related to Texas Department of Transportation and utility relocation costs.

Hays County will be responsible for paying for preliminary engineering and design work, environmental clearance, and 30% of construction plans for a companion project. About $800,000 will be put toward the construction of a railroad overpass at Kohlers Crossing.

Additional responsibilities and costs will be assigned to the county, which will be eligible for reimbursement through the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning and Organization and TxDOT. According to the agreement, the total cost of the project is estimated at $13.1 million.

“It’s great to see the county and the city and CAMPO participating and trying to remedy the situation we have in downtown Kyle,” City Council Member Robert Rizo said. “Sometimes we sit there for 30 minutes to an hour waiting on trains to pass each other.”

The city and the county will work together and approve the plans for the project; however, it is unclear when the project will begin and be completed.