Williamson County Bond Advisory Committee hears proposals from Pct. 3 cities

The Williamson County bond advisory committee heard propositions from City of Jarrell representatives at its third formal meeting May 9.

The cities of Jarrell, Georgetown, Florence and Weir representatives also submitted "lengthy and detailed" requests for road and parks improvement projects, said Bob Daigh, Williamson County senior director of infrastructure.

Jarrell Mayor Dewey Hulme and City Councilman Jeff Stockton spoke to the committee, emphasizing their top three priorities for road improvements: construction on the Yankee Road overpass, inner loop connectivity between CR 305 and FM 487 and construction of a Ronald Reagan Boulevard overpass.

According to Stockton's presentation, the current 24-foot-wide Yankee Road overpass is insufficient for commercial traffic. Two 18-wheeler trucks cannot pass across the bridge at the same time, Stockton said, and the city has receive formal requests for reconstruction from local business owners.

Reconstructing the bridge could cost $6 million, he said.

Work on CR 305 and FM 487 would offer flexibility with school bus routes and offer a re-route of quarry trucks, which create a hazard when moving downtown, Stockton said.

The project is estimated to cost $1.9 million. he said.

An overpass on Ronald Reagan Boulevard, which could cost about $7.3 million, would work to minimize safety issues at the intersection. The bridge's current width is insufficient for commercial traffic, and the overpass would provide connectivity for Williamson County to I-35, Stockton's presentation said.

"This may be our last chance in this road bond to get these overpasses built," Stockton said. "As far as I know, these are the only two overpasses in Williamson County that have not been cleaned up [the Texas Department of Transportation] says they're structurally sound but the fact is, they're outdated."

Sheila Cunningham also addressed the committee on behalf of the Sonterra Municipal Utility District, located near Jarrell, regarding $750,000 to build hike and bike trails between residential areas and schools.

"We need a hike and bike trail to connect neighborhoods. The only way students have to get between the neighborhood and school is a county road," she said.

The MUD applied for a $500,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife grant a number of years ago to construct the trails, but did not receive it, she said. However, the MUD did receive a $100,000 grant last year.

"I hope the fact we were originally awarded a parks grant gives you some confidence that we're worth it," Cunningham said.

Paula Dawning, vice president of the Mayfield Ranch homeowners association, also addressed the committee about traffic on FM 1431 and a need for turning lanes.

Dawning said accidents, some of which have been fatal, occur almost every two weeks in the neighborhoods.

"If something should happen to that artery, like an accident, which happens frequently, you are blocked," she said. "It's carrying about 30,000 cars per day. There's a significant blockage when you have a problem there."

Dawning did not provide an estimate for what the addition of turning lanes would cost.

The committee's next meeting will be May 23 at 6 p.m. in Taylor. For more information, visit www.wilco.org/bondcommittee.



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