Task force work, plus feasibility study, marks bypass milestone
In the past couple of weeks, both the Gillespie County Commissioners and the Fredericksburg City Council have approved funding a study for a relief route.
This feasibility study will be given to the Texas Department of Transportation and outline percentages of the costs each entity will be willing to share regarding land acquisition as well as determine route alternatives.
If TxDOT gives the thumbs up, then this project — which has been in the discussion phase in one form or another for roughly 50 years — will be positioned at the starting line.
And if it is moved forward by the state, planning could still take a decade, followed by three to four years of construction. But that is welcome news after this project has been sidelined for so long.
As locals, we will eventually be asked to pay our share to help get the big trucks and pass-through traffic off Main Street.
In today’s dollars, the total project costs would be about $171 million, and that will rise as time passes, of course. There is about 250 acres of land to be acquired for a 200-foot right-of-way, TxDOT officials said recently.
We recently echoed frustration about this project having never gotten out of the starting gate, but we are glad to see these recent developments. It seems large trucks carrying big equipment stop traffic nearly every day to get around our traffic lights and, sometimes, use our law enforcement resources for traffic control. With increased tourist traffic, that means gridlock some days.
Our gratitude goes out to Relief Route Task Force members, who have met for a number of years to study this issue, as well as to the city council and county commissioners who gave the feasibility study the green light.