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Marble Falls eyes flow changes to ‘aggravating’ intersection

Mormon Mill Road-Mission Hills Drive intersection

The intersection of Mission Hills Drive and Mormon Mill Road was the center of an often heated discussion by the Marble Falls City Council on Feb. 20. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Changes might be coming to the Mission Hills Drive-Mormon Mill Road intersection in Marble Falls, at least during a 60- to 90-day test period. 

Following an often-heated discussion of the three-way junction during the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, members instructed city staff to approach The Home Depot about the suggested alterations. The big-box store owns part of the intersection. 

Councilor Bryan Walker called the junction a “poorly designed intersection.” 

“It’s aggravating because it’s a constant issue,” he said.

His proposal includes removing the intersection’s current three-way stop and creating a one-way-only entrance to The Home Depot, making customers exit the store down Max Copeland Drive or 12th Street instead of Mission Hills Drive. 

The final piece of Walker’s plan is adding a four-way stop or stoplight at the intersection of Max Copeland Drive, Mormon Mill Road, and Dollar General at 1400 Mormon Mill Road.

“We need to visit with The Home Depot,” said Councilor Griff Morris, who was Marble Falls mayor in the late 1990s when the intersection was originally designed.  

If an agreement is reached with The Home Depot, city crews will use delineators to herd the store’s exiting traffic down Max Copeland or 12th and away from Mission Hills. They will also remove or cover stop signs at the intersection’s current three-way stop.

“I say give it a shot, why not?” Walker said. “ … And if we’re wrong … we can go back.”

Marble Falls Councilor Bryan Walker presented a proposal to revamp the Mission Hills Drive-Mormon Mill Road intersection on Feb. 20. Scanned image

Councilor Lauren Haltom, who is property manager of The Homestead at Mormon Mill apartments near the intersection, vehemently opposed Walker’s proposal. 

Max Copeland Drive is one of two points of entry for the complex’s tenants.

“You’d be going on my road,” she said. “We’re adding 58 more units and the (Texas Department of Public Safety office), they’re all parked in the road. You’re going to push all this (traffic) on everybody.” 

Walker reminded Haltom that the development does not own Max Copeland Drive.

“I understand that your apartment complex is there, but it is a city road,” he said.

Marble Falls resident David Mason also opposed Walker’s proposed reconfiguration.

“This thing is already doing what it’s supposed to do,” he said.

Mason’s comments were met with verbal pushback from Walker.

“Does somebody need to get hurt before we decide we need anything changed?” the councilor asked.

Mayor Dave Rhodes put an end to the back-and-forth between Walker and Mason, allowing Mason to speak uninterrupted.

“Let him finish,” Rhodes told Walker.

Mason cited a study by University of Texas engineering students that was discussed during a City Council workshop in September 2022. According to the study, the current intersection has proven effective.

“Level of service, do you remember that?” Mason asked. “They gave (the intersection) a grade A.”

Police Chief Glenn Hanson reported on accidents at the intersection.

“We surprisingly have very few,” he said, attributing the lack of wrecks to the infamous nature of the intersection.

“Most people know how messed up it is,” he said. “People get in there and are very careful about it.”

Rhodes agreed with Walker that the intersection needs work but told councilors that “totally fixing it” was not a possibility. 

“There’s no perfect answer,” the mayor said, adding that improved signage might help.

“There is a very small directional sign on the sidewalk,” Rhodes said. “I apologize (to Public Works crew members), but it’s worthless. It’s trash. You can’t see it.”

Rhodes, along with Mayor Pro-tem Dee Haddock and Morris, lobbied for the city to install “airport-style” signage. 

“If you go to the airport, there’s a big monster (sign) out there with ‘departures, arrivals, baggage, and rental cars,’” Rhodes said. “You can’t miss it. They’re huge. I think it should span both sides (of the stoplight).”

Walker disagreed.

“I don’t think signs are going to change a single thing,” he said. “Now, I’m trying to figure out if I’m just going to be the grumpy person in the room when I come back and say the same crap is still happening.”

Further talks on new signs will be held during the next Traffic Control Committee meeting, City Manager Mike Hodge told DailyTrib.com after the council meeting.

“We always run any changes to regulatory signage through that committee before we have Public Works install,” he said.

nathan@thepicayune.com

7 thoughts on “Marble Falls eyes flow changes to ‘aggravating’ intersection

  1. On average, I go through this intersection about five times a day for the past 14 years and the only way I believe this intersection can be improved is to allow more than five cars to get through the intersection of 281 at a time. That’s about the limit now. If you make the changes, the traffic will back up Mormon Mill past the proposed new light and Max Copeland road which will cause drivers to cut through parking lots and exit through residential streets. These changes still won’t allow more traffic to flow safely through. I’m not sure there is a better solution than what we have now. We’ve learned to live with it.

  2. 1. Does the Dollar General parking lot have the stack space to support a stop sign/lot? What if they’re getting a semi delivery?
    2. As was pointed out earlier, if a study has already been done and the conclusion was to leave the intersection as is why do we think this proposed solution we will be any better? A lot of disruption to drivers and businesses if it doesn’t work.
    3. I agree that signage needs to be updated. Both on the street and the poles (badly faded).
    4. I would ask that the city give consideration to “DO NOT BLOCK THE BOX” signage and layout.

  3. I like the proposed flow shown on the map. It eliminates the left turns at the 3-way intersection, which are often the most tricky/dangerous. (Huge airport signs are not needed.)

  4. Gosh, it sounds like some people don’t think others can drive and be polite and allow folks to turn/merge…like we all do every time we go through that intersection. Maybe the grumpy old man is the only one having issues. If there’s not a significant crash problem then let it be. Maybe some signage so people know they can get to Home Depot from Max Copeland – I didn’t know that as HD is the only place I go back there – going out that way would be much better but y’all don’t have to make it mandatory, just make it known. I’ll be going that way out of HD from now on, so good article. 🙂

  5. Could someone with the City ask DOT traffic light department to reprogram the light at 281/1431 (westbound on 1431) where more than three cars get through the green light before changing? It’s ridiculous, especially when the high school is letting out, or anytime during the day! A big issue!

  6. As usual with the city it is the blind leading the blind. That intersection is not going to get better by changing the current routes and extra large airport signage won’t help. In fact it would be a hindrance.

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