City sees opportunity for signal on SH 29

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The intersection of SH 29 and County Road 214 has proven to be a dangerous one in Liberty Hill, but past attempts to make changes to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) roadway have not been fruitful.

But a new business tenant at the intersection is hoping to breathe new life into the effort to have a signal put in by offering to pay for it.

“County Road 214 and Highway 29 is an intersection that has been brought up multiple times about having a signal there,” said City Planner Sally McFeron. “QuikTrip is going in on the northwest corner of 214 and 29 and they have been working with TxDOT to try and get a light there.”

To assist QuikTrip’s effort, the Liberty Hill City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of signalization.

“QuikTrip will fund the intersection improvements 100 percent and as you know we are interested in having that intersection signalized as well,” McFeron said. “It is my understanding (TxDOT) told QuikTrip they could put the money aside and escrow it and then whenever the warrants happen they would build it.”

Still, there is no guarantee the project will be done and no timetable for when it may be considered again.

The City has asked for a signal there in the past but the state said the traffic flow didn’t warrant a signal and it was too close to the light at SH 29 and 1869.

McFeron believes that perhaps TxDOT has softened its stance on the proximity issue with the two intersections because QuikTrip was told it could put the funds for the signal in an escrow account and once the traffic flow warranted a signal it could be done. The cost is estimated at about $350,000.

The most recent community outcry for action came following a fatal collision in November 2018.

The collision, which occurred when a vehicle attempted to make a turn from CR 214 and was struck in the intersection by a second vehicle traveling westbound, resulted in one fatality.

At that time TxDOT Spokesman Chris Bishop said the intersection of CR 214 and SH 29 was not chosen for a signal due to the location of existing signals.

“The intersection of SH 29 and CR 214 was considered too close to the existing traffic signal at SH 29 and FM 1869 to be a viable location for a traffic signal,” he said. “State Highway 29 and Bronco Blvd. was chosen as the next location for a traffic signal, in order to maintain adequate spacing for traffic progression through the corridor.”

Bishop confirmed in February 2018 that a traffic signal was being planned for the intersection of Highway 29 and Bronco Boulevard, at the entrance to Sundance Estates.

The Bronco signal is expected to go out for bid as part of a signal construction contract to be awarded in May. Once the bid is awarded, the contractor will have 300 days to complete work on all signals included in the contract, so work in Liberty Hill is expected to be between the summer of this year and spring of 2020.

The City has also asked TxDOT to lower the speed limit on SH 29, which is currently 55 through the city, but following a traffic count, TxDOT said the speed limit would not be reduced.

“With the amount of traffic I’m good with it,” said City Administrator Greg Boatright. “It’s a mechanical way to slow traffic down. That intersection is without a doubt the most dangerous intersection we have in our city.”

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