Wirtz Dam Road bridge, US 281 project on recommended funding list

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Residents can find out more about recent road projects on a recommended funding list by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Among funding recommendations are the engineering component of the proposed Wirtz Dam Road bridge project. Courtesy map

Residents can find out more about recent road projects on a recommended funding list by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Among funding recommendations are the engineering component of the proposed Wirtz Dam Road bridge project. Courtesy map

MARBLE FALLS — A handful of Burnet County road projects have made the cut on a recommended list for federal highway funding, launching a comment and meeting phase for the public.

Among the projects recommended for funding by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) are the engineering component (about $3 million) for the Wirtz Dam Road bridge. /Construction costs for the project are estimated at $18.6 million, which is not part of the current list of recommendations but could be on a future one.

Other Burnet County projects involve three stretches of U.S. 281 (in two areas, including south of Marble Falls to the Blanco County line) and Texas 29 east of Bertram to the Williamson County line.

“The Wirtz Dam Road bridge project is more critical now to alleviate traffic issues and congestion in Marble Falls,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “It will reduce the emergency services response time. It’s becomes a new artery on our map.”

Burnet County commissioners submitted a list of roadway projects to CAMPO totaling more than $109 million and vying for fuel tax money allotted by the Federal Highways Administration.

“Although not all sections of our major roads made the list that would improve safety, I am glad that some sections made it and, especially, the part of 281 south because of all the quarry industry traffic,” Oakley said. “The Wirtz Dam Road project scored very high.”

“The engineering component being approved is a clear path to the construction,” he added.

To unveil the complete list, CAMPO is hosting an open house from 4-7 p.m. Monday, April 2, at the Marble Falls Public Library, 101 Main St. The event is come-and-go with no formal presentation.

“Now, it’s going through the required public input process,” Oakley said. “It’s a time to look at what projects are being recommended and an opportunity to give input on a CAMPO-wide arterial study.”

At the meeting, CAMPO representatives will also solicit input for a so-called “arterial survey” to identify improvements to existing infrastructure as well as consider potential new infrastructure for the six-county CAMPO region.

For example, some discussion of the potential need has surfaced for a proposed crossing over Lake Travis to connect the communities of Briar Cliff off Texas 71 and the city of Lago Vista off RR 1431.

For those who cannot attend the public meetings, CAMPO is accepting submissions online beginning April 2.

The CAMPO board, of which Oakley is a member, will review public input during its April meeting.

In May, board members are expected to approve the recommended project list to present to the Texas Department of Transportation for its August meeting.

Subsequently, the state road entity will present the approved list to the FHA for what it terms “mobility dollars” derived from nationwide fuel tax collections.

CAMPO is a planning organization for Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.

connie@thepicayune.com

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