STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — Another project aimed at easing congestion at a busy intersection — RR 1431 and U.S. 281 — has joined the list of proposed road upgrades eligible for millions of dollars in federal fuel tax funding, officials said.
In May, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) accepted another Burnet County-requested project to improve the Marble Falls intersection, which would cost approximately $1.6 million. The project would focus on widening and straightening the roadway.
“Once the list of projects from all counties got to the (CAMPO) voting platform, there were some details about other projects that changed, (and) that moved the cutoff line,” said CAMPO board member and Burnet County Judge James Oakley. “What is new is the opportunity to add the 1431-281 intersection.”
The intersection, comprised of uneven turn angles, has a daily traffic count that reportedly exceeds 30,000 vehicles.
“Right now, you have an intersection that is not a true 90-degree intersection,” Oakley said. “It’s a problem when a section (of the intersection) is narrower than 90 degrees.
“If you’re driving a pickup truck with a trailer or a delivery truck, it causes a clog in the main vein of that artery,” he added, referring to how those vehicles traveling north on U.S. 281 often have to stop and wait until traffic on the inside lane clears before turning east on RR 1431.
From the entire Burnet County-proposed list of upgrades, CAMPO approved a series of local projects worth about $26 million.
Among the approved upgrades:
• the engineering component (about $3 million) for the Wirtz Dam Road bridge proposal;
• stretches of U.S. 281 in areas including south Marble Falls to the Blanco County line and north around Nature Heights within the city limits;
• Texas 29 east of Bertram to the Williamson County line;
• and a section of Texas 71 from Spur 191 in Spicewood to the Travis County line.
In all, CAMPO considered project lists from Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.
The counties are vying for $400 million in available Federal Highway Administration (FHA) funds derived from fuel tax collections.
“These are dollars that are designated to address mobility and congestion issues,” Oakley said.
Next, the Texas Department of Transportation will review the list in August followed by final approval by FHA in October.