Group says less expensive, less intrusive options available
A petition to stop the Texas Department of Transportation’s technically preferred route around Fredericksburg is being distributed.
Citizens for an Informed Relief Route (CIRR), a local group that has been active in relief route conversations, created this petition after a “No Build” option wasn’t presented in the most recent relief route open house on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Gary Saucier, who created CIRR, feels “most of the county citizens are unaware or not in favor” of TxDOT’s proposed route.
The petition states TxDOT will require the city and the county to acquire the land needed for the route, which will cost an estimated $50 million. Saucier said that amount is based on the number of properties to be acquired, their sizes and their values.
“It’s a rough order of magnitude,” Saucier said.
Fredericksburg City Manager Kent Myers said while it’s true the city and county will have to acquire the land, officials have not estimated a cost at this time. He also said it would depend on when purchases occur, as the cost of land is increasing.
The petition also states that the city has other less-expensive options for a bypass, which are “more in character with the Hill Country and could be completed much sooner.”
Saucier said the options mentioned are the city’s high priority projects to be discussed at a Transportation Open House meeting from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Law Enforcement Center, 1601 E. Main Street. Those are:
• South Cherry Street Extension/Post Oak Road Reconstruction (southwest quadrant of the city);
• Texas Highway 16 North to U.S. Highway 290 East Connection (northeast quadrant of the city);
• Inner Loop or Interim Relief Route.
Myers provided a list of potential traffic impacts if the relief route is never constructed, a study done through TxDOT, the city and county.
According to the data, trucks on Main Street per day would increase from 1,770 to 2,990 by 2040, and its peak capacity period would increase from 63% to 90% if a route isn’t built. If it is constructed, it’s expected that the number of trucks per day would fall to 1,380, and the peak period would only rise to 69%.
As for how many locals want TxDOT’s approved route, about 23 of the 53 written comments at last week’s open house were against it.
There were 17 votes for the route and 13 neutral votes.
Myers said the relief route is in the early stages, as the Relief Route Task Force still needs to decide if it wants to continue to the next step, which would be the environmental study.
To fill out a petition, sign the ad placed in the Jan. 22 edition of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, find it at a local business, or go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/StoptheBypass.
Saucier said CIRR plans to gather to discuss the petition results in the next four weeks. Once discussed, they will accumulate the information and provide a report with data to the City of Fredericksburg, Gillespie County and TxDOT.