Road construction indicative of growth in Liberty Hill area

County Commissioner Cynthia Long (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon last week on improvements to US Highway 183 from South San Gabriel River to State Highway 29. The improvements include a four-lane arterial roadway with shoulders, new bridge structures over the South San Gabriel River and a wide depressed median. The $16 million project is a Pass-Through Financing project, which allows counties to front the money for the design and construction of road projects with the state reimbursing the county for some of the expenses. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will count the number of cars using the improved roads and pay the county based on traffic levels semi-annually over a 10 to 20 year period. (www.ThunderstruckPhotos.com)

By KATE LUDLOW

For most Liberty Hill residents, the daily commute has become a sea of orange traffic cones as various road and sewer construction projects have kicked off around town.

In 2006, voters approved a bond package totaling $228 million. Since that time, various projects around Williamson County have been completed, including improvements to Lakeline and Ronald Reagan boulevards. Thirteen projects are currently in various stages of construction in Precinct 2, which includes Liberty Hill.

While the construction at Seward Junction has been completed for now, the area recently underwent a study to address various future issues.

“The results of that study are still in the early stages,” said County Commissioner Cynthia Long.

She said the ultimate goal in the area of Seward Junction is to restructure the existing county roads to offer better drivability and offer alternatives to the intersection.

“That is the ultimate goal,” she said. “If you step back and look at a map, you can see that that was likely the intention years ago when they were built. As development increases, that area will become more congested and these roads might make a better alternative to help you go around that area. If you’re trying to get to Liberty Hill from US 183, or if you’re south of RR 1869, these might be options.”

The study shows that four county roads surrounding Seward Junction — County Roads 213, 258, 259, and 263 — are being evaluated as possible alternative routes to the main intersection that is currently State Highway 29 and U.S. Highway 183.

Currently, construction crews are working on a new turn lane on Highway 29 that will extend from County Road 200 to 4,000 feet west of the Liberty Hill Cemetery.

Though a construction sign says the turn lane extension will end at County Road 270, that road doesn’t exist.

“It’s possible that’s a misprint,” said Connie Watson, public information manager for Williamson County.

Next on the project list are improvements to the intersection of Highway 29 and County Roads 260 and 266. Construction is slated to start on that intersection later this spring.

A signal warrant study will be completed this year for the intersection at Highway 29 and County Road 214. The intersection is described by most residents as one of the most dangerous in Liberty Hill. During peak traffic hours, turning against traffic takes a longer amount of time.

“In 25 years if the area grows as projected, you could have fully directional flyovers,” said Commissioner Long. “Right now, we’re just focusing on safety improvements.”

Residents seeking more information on current road bond projects can visit www.roadbond.org.