Not much actual “news” in this article, The future of Hwy. 29, for those that have been paying attention. There are some pretty maps. It also doesn’t present an alternative view, nor is there any mention of the uprising that’s occurred in Liberty Hill because of the “Nutty Road To Nowhere”. Here are excerpts:
â€œWe felt that we really should have done this 10 years ago, but we canâ€™t start it 10 years ago; we can only start it today,â€ [Precinct e Commissioner Cynthia] Long said.
â€œFrom a purely planning perspective, we are looking at the widest scenario, but that is not to say that is what it will ultimately be in every area,â€ she said. â€œRight now it is a planning study. Until you get to the actual design â€” once we get to a preferred alignment, based on all the input and the constraints â€” then you do a more detailed schematic. At that point in time, we would know more about what that footprint will look like.â€
The commissioners announced a plan to remove 13 possible routes July 17, but do not plan to announce the preferred path until September. Once the route is chosen, the engineers will design a schematic, and the court will begin land purchase options with interested sellers.
Several landowners in Georgetown declined to comment on the corridor study, saying they were concerned it could affect their negotiations with the county
Others agree that if the county is going to designate the roadâ€™s route, now is the time to buy the right-of-way.
â€œThe positive side of buying right-of-way now is it will be way cheaper today than it will be in the future,â€ state Rep. Dan Gattis said. â€œThe negative side of it is that if you say, â€˜This is where our corridor is going,â€™ and donâ€™t actually purchase that property, then really youâ€™ve harmed those property owners. Then they canâ€™t ever sell their property. You canâ€™t do that to people.â€
â€œTxDOT should be out here designating and buying right-of-way and everything else,â€ Gattis said. â€œThe county shouldnâ€™t have to do it, but the county canâ€™t wait for TxDOT to get its business in order.â€
The commissioners agree that TxDOT should be in charge of this project, but even with the cutbacks, this project was not on the agencyâ€™s list, Long said.
â€œThis is not one [of the projects] they had planned, but northern Williamson County has been largely underestimated in terms of population growth,â€ she said. â€œWe live it and see it every day, and that is why we took the lead on this â€” so that we could do this study and identify where the road alignment needs to be in the future.â€
Landowners don’t want to talk, I wonder why that is? This may be the first time Dan Gattis, Jr. has commented on SH 29 in the press. He does an excellent job of showing how this plan benefits the county and harms the current property owners. But beyond that, and blaming/scapegoating TxDOT, he offers nothing constructive. It would have been nice to find out what he thinks about the plan, if he agrees with the corridor plan and how the county if proceeding so far. Maybe next time.