TxDOT earmarks funding for FM 2147 left-turn lane project

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

HORSESHOE BAY — A $1.6 million road project to add a continuous left-turn lane on FM 2147 between Horseshoe Bay and Cottonwood Shores will enhance safety and accommodate population and traffic growth, officials say.

Marble Falls Area EMS director Johnny Campbell (left) and Donald Orr discuss the safety and traffic concerns along FM 2147 between Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay. Staff photo by Connie Swinney
Marble Falls Area EMS director Johnny Campbell (left) and Donald Orr discuss the safety and traffic concerns along FM 2147 between Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay. Staff photo by Connie Swinney
Officials on July 24 announced a $1.6 million roadwork project on a 1.5 mile stretch of FM 2147 between Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay. Pictured are Texas Department of Transportation Burnet-area engineer Howard Lyons (left), Llano County Precinct 1 Commissioner Peter Jones, Llano County Judge Wayne Brascum, Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger, Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery, Cottonwood Shores Mayor Donald Orr, TxDOT Austin-area district engineer Greg Malatek and Horseshoe Bay Mayor Pro Tem Tom Schmersahl. Staff photo by Connie Swinney
Officials on July 24 announced a $1.6 million roadwork project on a 1.5 mile stretch of FM 2147 between Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay. Pictured are Texas Department of Transportation Burnet-area engineer Howard Lyons (left), Llano County Precinct 1 Commissioner Peter Jones, Llano County Judge Wayne Brascum, Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger, Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery, Cottonwood Shores Mayor Donald Orr, TxDOT Austin-area district engineer Greg Malatek and Horseshoe Bay Mayor Pro Tem Tom Schmersahl. Staff photo by Connie Swinney

Considered a main thoroughfare to and from the Horseshoe Bay and Cottonwood Shores areas in Burnet County, the state-owned roadway also functions as a corridor to communities including Blue Lake, Deer Haven, Oakridge and Sunrise Beach in Llano County.

Officials announced the project July 24 during a special presentation at the City of Horseshoe Bay council chambers.

Crews will add a center lane within a 1.5-mile stretch along with shoulders, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

“Growth and safety were the main key,” said TxDOT Burnet-area engineer Howard Lyons. “When they’re done with it, it will be a lot safer and more convenient route.”

Surveys showed 7,700 vehicles per day use the stretch of roadway, according to TxDOT.

“There is quite a bit of traffic for a two-lane undivided roadway, so when one person needs to make a turn movement, it delays a whole string of traffic,” Lyons said.

He added that cooperation among officials in Burnet and Llano counties helped the project rise to the top of the construction list.

“This roadway has been in this condition with this many lanes since the ’70s. Horseshoe Bay, over the years, has gained a lot of permanent residents where it used to be strictly recreational,” said Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. “You have the Marriott, the Waters Development, and, in Cottonwood Shores, there’s a lot of development there.”

In the last census, Precinct 4 grew faster than any other precinct in Burnet County, officials said.

“Anytime you have a 50-mile-per-hour speed limit and people trying to turn off that road, it makes it extremely difficult and dangerous,” Cottonwood Shores Mayor Donald Orr agreed.

“That’s been a safety issue for us,” he said. “We’ve had a number of accidents and very close calls. It’s a much better situation to have a turn lane for our residents and people coming to visit.”

TxDOT officials said survey work is already under way. Officials expect to seek bids in August 2015. Work could begin in January 2016 and take six to eight months to complete.

“We looked at the average daily traffic count. We looked at some of the safety records and the number of turning accidents that happen out here,” Dockery said. “That’s what drove it to the top. The traffic is heavy, and it needed to be addressed.”

connie@thepicayune.com