STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
BURNET — Officials from Burnet County, the Texas Department of Transportation, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization met Sept. 14 to discuss regional transportation needs that are years, even decades, in the future.
CAMPO discussed its Regional Arterials Plan update with Burnet County commissioners, Sheriff Calvin Boyd, Judge James Oakley, and Development Services Director Herb Darling.
While officials understand the importance of highways such as U.S. 281, Texas 29, and Texas 71 in Burnet County, the meeting gave the county, CAMPO, and TxDOT officials a chance to offer feedback on the study.
CAMPO, which covers Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties, is meeting this fall with local governments and agencies. Two more rounds of public meetings are expected later this fall in Burnet County.
The Regional Arterials Plan, according to CAMPO, will take a regional focus on roadways that “serve as major corridors and a vital role in connecting people and places.”
During the meeting, RR 1431 received a large amount of attention.
“(RR) 1431 will be a test case corridor as part of CAMPO’s planning work, so some high-level conceptual best practice work will be examined as part of this, but this does not translate into any funding, design, or construction being imminent,” said CAMPO Community Outreach Manager Doise Miers. “The Arterials Plan is part of the long-range planning CAMPO is doing as part of the CAMPO 2045 Plan so improvements identified as part of this process may be shorter-term or may be a decade or more in the future.”
Other roadways discussed during the meeting included FM 2647, FM 963, FM 1174, and Fairland Road.
“Not only is there a need to recognize smaller roads that aren’t currently being recognized as arterial but, also, the needs for new arteries in the regional system,” Oakley said. “An example of a new artery would be a bridge over Lake Travis connecting Texas 71 to (RR) 1431. That would be in addition to the already recognized and funded new crossing below Wirtz Dam.”
The Wirtz Dam project has almost $3 million funded for engineering and is estimated for construction in five to eight years, according to Oakley.
The possibility of a bridge over Lake Travis in eastern Burnet County or western Travis County also was part of the discussion.
Growth to the north, near Fort Hood, also came up in the discussion. While Fort Hood in Bell County and Lampasas County are not part of CAMPO, the expected growth in population and traffic could have an effect on northern Burnet County.
After gathering data and input, the CAMPO board will have a call for projects for counties to apply for CAMPO funding in the spring.
For more information, visit campotexas.org.