County to increase speed limit on CR 200

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By WAYLON CUNNINGHAM

Williamson County will be raising the speed limit from 40mph to 45mph on a northern length of County Road 200, running up from a sign near Bold Sundown to the road’s terminal point meeting County Road 203.

The change, which the County Commissioner’s office said will come into effect shortly after the first of January, follows from the recommendations of County Engineer Joe England and traffic consultants, who reviewed data collected by rubber tube counters laid on the road.

The counters showed that along the targeted distance, 85 percent of traffic exceeded the speed limit of 40mph by a general margin of 12mph.

State law recommends that the county re-examine its speed limits every five years.

“So as things change, we’re keeping up,” said England.

“We don’t want to set the limit too high, or too low, but we want to deal with the reality [of how people are driving],” he continued. “And even if people are going fast, there are going to be some other considerations. Public safety always comes first.”

A sign posted in the speed zone provides a phone number for residents to call the Williamson County Department of Infrastructure at 512-943-3330, to ask for more information or to provide feedback on the proposed changes.

As of Dec. 14, England reports receiving 25 calls so far.

“It’s a great avenue for dialogue between regulator and regulated,” he said.

Comments are taken into consideration, England said, “and a lot of callers have said they think it’s too high or too low. But there are some numbers beyond discussion because of what the data shows. People can be surprised about it, but it is what it is.”

Speed limits on the southern section of County Road 200, defined approximately by the engineer as the stretch from State Highway 29 up to the sign near Bold Sundown, will be maintained at 50mph.

Rubber tube counters showed that 85 percent of traffic there traveled at 55mph — five miles over the speed limit.

“And some go under it,” England added.

The decision to raise the limit on the northern section can also be partly attributed to the rapid growth in Liberty Hill, which, as real estate data shows, has channeled northward along County Road 200 from its mouth at Highway 29.

“Quite frankly, we have a lot more traffic than we used to. So we’re trying to play catch up with some of these improvements,” England said.

School rush hour traffic has become a particular problem for many residents on the road.

According to traffic analytics from Google Maps, which aggregates data from drivers using the app on their phone, a car ride down County Road 200 from a house on County Road 203 to Liberty Hill Intermediate School can be expected to take around 24 minutes if the driver leaves around 7:10 a.m.— the typical time a parent leaves to take a child to school.

That estimated driving time on this 7.5 mile stretch holds true for another hour, but by 8:20 a.m. and for the rest of the day, it drops to 14 minutes.

England said that he believes the change will help traffic, as drivers will be more inclined to drive at a uniform speed following the law.

Texas is the only state without prescribed speed limits for each type of road — state or federal.

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