City, Mojo’s planning changes for Brown Bridge Road
By Rachel Madison
Changes are coming to Brown Bridge Road to make the intersection safer and provide better queuing for the ever-growing line at Mojo’s drive thru.
Council member Kathy Canady said the City of Liberty Hill can’t take charge of SH 29 or CR 214, because those roads are under the jurisdiction of TXDot and Williamson County, respectively, but it can take charge of Brown Bridge Road, which is why she brought the item to Council to on June 23.
“If it helps a little bit, it helps a lot,” she said.
Plans for a proposed solution and opportunities for bettering the intersection have been drawn up by the City’s engineering firm Steger Bizzell, which included options for delineators and striping.
“We came up with really good options for council to consider,” said City Administrator Lacie Hale. “We have also been in discussions with Mojo’s as far as if they are going to make an improvement on their site to help with traffic mitigation, and they are in talks with our planning department to see what they can do. They are mindful of the problem and the cars lining up on Highway 29 and they want to help with the solution for that.”
In 2022, TXDot plans to put a light at this intersection, but until then, Hale said the short-term solution of making changes to Brown Bridge Road as well as Mojo’s drive thru will help mitigate dangerous situations.
“Ultimately, this intersection is going to change, but for a short-term solution, this is it,” she said.
The proposed plan, which was unanimously approved by the Council, includes closing off the northernmost entrance into Mojo’s to promote queuing down Brown Bridge Road instead of SH 29.
“This plan has also eliminated movement for northbound traffic to right only,” Curtis Steger said. “Currently, northbound traffic can go right, straight or left. We won’t be changing any movements coming onto Brown Bridge from CR 214 or Highway 29, and it’s still dangerous from that standpoint, but making these changes takes half of the dangerous movements away.”
Steger added that if people want to access SH 29 or CR 214 heading north, they can instead go to the light at the intersection of RM 1869.
“That has a dedicated lane for people who want to go straight,” he said. “People coming from CR 214 can still go straight across, but Brown Bridge will be right turn only. There is a driveway right in front of the Rio Gabriel Liquor store, and I believe people will cut through there if we stopped traffic from being able to go southbound on Brown Bridge, which would only make it more dangerous. Once the signal is there, it will be better, but this is what we can do for now.”
In addition to removing the extra driveway and making the northbound lane right-turn only, Steger added that 3D reboundable delineators will be used to guide people to only make right turns when heading north.
“It’s an active barrier,” he said. “People don’t want to get their car scratched up, and it will scratch your car up if you drive through these.”
Liberty Hill resident David Kirschner has lived on CR 214 for 15 years. He attended the City’s most recent council meeting and spoke during the public comment period.
“The most dangerous thing I do and my family does every day is turn on and off of CR 214 at Highway 29,” he said. “There is no other bigger danger. I’m scared that my kids and my wife are going to die. I’m scared as hell to make that turn. People are either coming off Brown Bridge Road and going up the center lane, or there’s people who want to go to the gun store or the liquor store, and sometimes it gets really confusing. I don’t want to be in a head-on collision.”
Kirschner added that he believes Brown Bridge Road should be shut down until a long-term solution can be met, especially because that road often becomes clogged with traffic waiting to get into the Mojo’s Coffee drive- thru line.
“The line at Mojo’s is sometimes going out onto [Highway] 29 now,” he said. “If my wife or I want to leave the house in the morning, we have to turn right, make a U-turn and go back East. I go to Austin, I go to a lot of cities, but that’s the worst intersection I can think of.”
Because the drive-thru line at Mojo’s is often the cause for confusion on Brown Bridge Road and at the intersection, Mojo’s is working on a plan to help alleviate some of the danger. Austin Moon, co-owner of Mojo’s, said that road has been dangerous for a long time, so much so that when employees leave work for the day, they are asked to go to the light at RM 1869 instead of trying to turn off Brown Bridge Road.
“In our busiest hours, our line goes out to Brown Bridge Road,” he said. “We’ve had police out there to help manage that, but we want to provide a solution for everybody. We are looking to do a ‘Chick-Fil-A style’ double lane that will then merge into one closer to our drive-thru window. We have already engaged with our engineers to make sure we’re doing the proper permitting, considering drainage, and all that.”
Moon said room for the double lane will come from taking out the storage units that are behind Mojo’s building. Mojo’s is securing warehouse space elsewhere for roasting and distribution.
“As soon as we get the necessary permits, we will start working on it,” Moon said. “The project itself shouldn’t take much because we’re not having to pour much concrete, and we’re just demolishing the storage units. We’re doing everything we can to get it done fast so we can load more cars onto the space.”
In addition to changing up their drive-thru lane, Moon said Mojo’s has also changed some of its processes to get people through the drive-thru faster.
“We have made changes in our flow and in running out drinks,” he said. “We are taking payments outside and sending two runners out to get as many drink orders as possible. We track our per car speed, and we’re down to under one minute per car.”
Moon added that online ordering through the Mojo’s Coffee app is also available, and in July, a dedicated barista will be hired to make just the online orders.
“We’re investing a ton into getting as fast as possible and keeping people off of Brown Bridge,” he said.
The next step will be for the City and Mojo’s to work together on both projects to increase safety. Funds for the road changes will come from the City’s streets budget at an estimated cost of $17,967.