County delays landowner meetings for I-2 Corridor Project

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By Kristen Meriwether

On Nov. 11, landowners in the projected Corridor I-2 Project area received emails from the Corridor I-2 Study Team saying the study is being reassessed. Meetings with property owners have been paused until the week of Dec. 20.

“Commissioner (Cynthia) Long has received a lot of feedback from the community and has heard the concerns voiced about the study and several of the county roads in the area. She wants to be responsive and ensure a process that improves information sharing and input gathering,” the email stated. “She has asked the technical team to reassess the study constraints, gather more data and do additional analyses on alternatives before conducting more individual property owner meetings.”

The email came a little more than a week after nearly 75 residents packed Main Street Social on Nov. 3 to discuss the local impacts of the Corridor I-2 Project.

Williamson County is currently conducting a Planning and Right-of-Way Preservation Study for a new 7.3-mile expressway that would run east/west between U.S. Highway 183 and the Burnet County line, and a 4.1-mile north/south connector between the new expressway and State Highway 29.

Williamson County mailed 63 letters in mid-October to property owners who would be directly impacted by the project and had sit-down meetings with some of the landowners. As new information came to light, Long decided additional research was needed before continuing the meetings.

“The project team has heard about new development and development patterns in the area, as well as, about safety concerns regarding several county roads in the area,” Commissioner Long said in an email on Monday. “I asked the project team to do some additional research in both of these areas before proceeding further into the study.”

The county is currently collecting feedback from property owners and conducting field studies. Project engineers will use that feedback to refine the footprint of the project. Once the footprint is set the county will pursue funding when the need arises to build the road. The road will be built, “as growth occurs in order to maintain a high level of safety, mobility, and quality of life for Williamson County residents,” according to a fact sheet on the project from the County.

If the project made it to construction, phase one would have one lane in each direction and a center turning lane. It could be expanded to four, six, or eight lanes over several decades, depending on demand, according to the County.

Landowners have been very vocal expressing the negative impacts they feel the project will bring to their land, parts of which would have to be sold to the County if funding is eventually provided for construction.

The group is not only vocal, but organized. Following the well-attended Nov. 3 meeting at Main Street Social, an online newsletter called “The Holdout” began circulating on the topic. A Facebook group entitled “Liberty Hill Bypass,” which has just under 1,200 followers, began posting updates, relevant news articles and calls to action.

The Independent received the following statement from the Greater Liberty Hill Landowners Group with their reaction to reassessment of the study:

“Williamson County placed the I-2 study on hold and this much needed pause offers the County the opportunity to reevaluate their approach and the effect on the community, environment, historical impact, and more. The County has not demonstrated why the proposed roads are necessary.

“We’re ready to find a sensible and agreeable solution benefiting both the County and property owners and residents of the greater Liberty Hill area. We trust that the County will do the right thing and appreciate they are taking the time to listen and look at alternatives.”

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