BUDA, Texas -- For downtown barbershop owner Mike Evans, Buda still feels like the small town he grew up in.
Even though he can remember when the city's population sign only read triple digits, he says the biggest change he sees from the window of his Main St. business is traffic.
Yeah, it still feels like a small town. It just takes me longer to walk across the street than it used to, said Evans. The traffic, waiting for the cars.
Buda is a small town with a big rig problem according to Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones, and it's been that way for decades.
Even since the gravel pits opened in the 1970's he says the city has struggled to keep up with the wear and tear from cement and other commercial trucks traveling through the downtown area.
Now, on any given afternoon dozens of 18-wheelers rumble past the historic facades of the historic area.
There's just too many of them, said Jones. But he is hopeful multi-million dollar plan slated for construction in 2016 will be the answer to the issue.
Building the bypass will give drivers a new way to connect from the highway to another major road. The bypass is expected to begin at IH 35 near the Robert Light Bridge, continuing east across FM967 and crossing the rail road tracks via bridge. It will then continue on across FM2770 before ending at FM1626.
The approximately six mile route will offer a straight shot for all vehicles ,including commercial traffic like the trucks contracted by local companies like Centex and Lehigh.
Jones says the state will pay $14 million for the construction, and the county will pay $2 million for environmental studies and design. The project should be 30 percent designed by the end of summer and once construction begins in 2016 Jones says the project is expected to take about a year.
Seventy five percent of the traffic will be taken out of downtown Buda by the truck bypass, estimated Jones.
Downtown restaurant owner Lillie Ann Alcala says she's also noticed the uptick in truck traffic. Not only does the noise hurt the quaint downtown atmosphere, but gridlock also forms around the dinner hour.
The bypass is only one of the major construction projects being developed in Hays County to accommodate the growing population.
Another part of the project, says Jones, will be updates to roadsFM967 and FM2770. While the state will fund the work, the commissioner says at the conclusion they will become city roads. That could further alter the course of commercial traffic by giving the city the right to set weight limit.