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Hays County tries to ease traffic for commuters

The Hays County Commissioners Court has delegated up to $2.5 million for a project that could create an alternate route for commuters getting into Austin.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — As Hays County grows, so does its traffic. That’s why the Hays County Commissioners Court has delegated up to $2.5 million for a project that could create an alternate route for commuters getting into Austin.

Commissioners are hoping to bridge State Highway 45 to Interstate 35, right at the area of FM 1626. The project passed 4-1.

“The people of Hays County, they’ve been wanting this since before the 45 was built. They wanted it to be built at the same time as the 45,” Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said.

Jones said this could help working-class people get to Austin for work with shorter wait times. The only person who voted against the project was County Judge Ruben Becerra, who said more research needs to be done before he can sign off on it.

“Folks don’t realize that when we make this pivot that all that traffic, and problems that come with it, are going to be funneled into our neighborhoods and, most importantly, karst features in environmentally sensitive areas that have not yet been vetted,” Becerra said.

Becerra’s concerns are echoed by the Travis County Commissioners Court. Last week, it sent a letter to the Hays County Commissioners Court saying this project would increase traffic on the MoPac Expressway and make traffic worse for Austinites.

Engineering company CP&Y was chosen for the project. Financial reports show Commissioner Jones received a campaign donation of $2,500 from the company in January of this year. County documents show CP&Y was chosen for this job in 2021.

“We chose CP&Y because they were the most qualified,” said Jones, adding that the team comes with decades of expertise in this area.

Jones has 12 years of experience working in transportation. He said he would even man the lights at some intersections himself. 

Becerra and Jones said they're both looking out for working-class families, they are just on different roads for how to do it.

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