What is the FM 150 West Character Plan?
The FM 150 West Character Plan is a document that defines how best to provide the future capacity needed for FM 150 West. It is about creating a “cookbook” that explains the approach for meeting current and future transportation needs. The Plan will include context based concepts and identify near, mid, and long term improvements that can be implemented incrementally over time.
The first part of the FM 150 West Character Plan resulted in a Features & Themes Report (which can be downloaded here: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3), which identified existing conditions, input from stakeholders, different community context zones, and important historical and environmental features to be considered when looking at alternatives. This report included a Corridor Concepts Map identifying big picture ideas that would move forward in the next phase.
Now the County is working on the next phase, developing a Nature & Character Master Plan. This will be a more detailed plan of the Corridor Concepts. Ultimately, this plan will guide future planning and improvements on and near the FM 150 Corridor.
Why are we developing this plan now?
We are developing a plan now so we can preserve the unique character and communities along the corridor while balancing planning for anticipated growth. We get this question often as some don’t see a need for any changes along FM 150. The Census Bureau cited Hays County as the 4th fastest growing county in the US in 2015 (source) People want to be here and we can certainly understand that! We are developing this plan to save FM 150 from the typical project development process. By planning early, we can balance future transportation needs with preserving the character of the Corridor, and we will not have to be constrained in a reactionary mode when growth occurs.
Ok, but when is the earliest construction can begin?
Our current best guess is that some identified safety near-term improvements might start the project development process depending on need in the next 1-2 years and it would take another 1-2 years before construction.
Other long-term improvements such as the potential bypass are further out, possibly entering a project development process in 3-10 years depending on how quickly the County grows and would take an additional 3-5 years for before construction could begin.
What happened to the FM 150 Alignment Study?
As a separate and distinct effort, the County was conducting a study and environmental review process to develop an alignment for FM 150 from Arroyo Ranch Road heading southeast to near I-35 and Yarrington Rd. After meeting with many stakeholders and holding 3 public meetings, a corridor was recommended for a new alignment of part of the road. The County has now passed the project onto TxDOT to undergo further environmental studies and project development. TxDOT anticipates this process will begin in early 2017. Once they begin a link to the project will be provided. For Hays County archived information click here.