Completion of FM 150 character plan expected by late summer

Hays County is considering changes to a portion of FM 150 west of I-35.

Hays County is considering changes to a portion of FM 150 west of I-35.

The Hays County Commissioners Court received an update Tuesday regarding the FM 150 character plan that seeks to gather resident input on how the span of road between Arroyo Ranch Road in Kyle and RR 12 in Dripping Springs should look in the future. Officials have said the road needs more capacity to accommodate anticipated future growth in the western portion of Hays County.

Project Manager Joe Cantalupo said the engineering team set out to understand the corridor and what nearby residents value about the road, which features multiple water crossings and passes through largely undeveloped Hill Country.

Among the concepts being considered within the plan, which began in 2014, are improvements to some intersections on the road, widened shoulders in certain areas and construction of a bypass road that could pass through the Rutherford Ranch.

The character plan was initially slated to be completed in November or December, Cantalupo said, but citizens voiced a desire to accelerate the project.

“People, instead of saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ they started saying, ‘Why are you taking so long? Let’s get this done.’”

The updated schedule calls for the public input portion of the plan to be completed by June. The complete character plan will likely be published to the county’s website in late summer, Cantalupo said.

Cantalupo said members of the citizens advisory panel, which has provided input on aspects of the plan, have requested the character plan include consideration of alternative intersections. Cantalupo said the project team is considering inclusion of a roundabout at the intersection of FM 150 and FM 3237, near the Hays City Store.

“What we have done is gone out into the community with landowners and stakeholders, nonprofit organizations and citizens that have interest in these types of issues and have had and will continue to have a tremendous amount of dialogue on how to best plan for this potential future,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley said. “This is not a ‘build it and they will come’ strategy from Hays County or [the Texas Department of Transportation].”

After the plan is published to the county’s website, commissioners will determine which projects included in the plan should move forward. Cantalupo said the selection of projects will likely depend on available funds and partnerships between the county and other entities.