Commissioners oppose Texas 29 downgrade

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Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin
Crews with Austin Traffic Signal put up a new traffic light at the intersection of Texas 29 and Hoover Valley Road on Wednesday, Feb. 6, on a section of highway the Texas Department of Transportation has said should be reclassified from "principal arterial" to "minor arteria," much to the chagrin of the Burnet County Commissioners Court, which has voiced their opposition to the move.






By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Burnet County commissioners expressed their concern Wednesday that reclassification of Texas 29 from US 281 in Burnet west to Ranch Road 2341 would make it harder to fund any future improvements to the highway.

Commissioners approved sending a resolution to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to voice their opposition to the highway being reclassified from a principal arterial to a minor arterial.

“I have already called TxDOT and let them know we would not be in agreement with anything that could result in any less advantageous funding for improvements,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley, who is a member of the CAMPO Transportation Policy Board.

Greg Haley of KC Engineering, Burnet County's representative on the CAMPO Technical Advisory Committee, told commissioners CAMPO is asking local governments for their input by Feb. 9 so they can submit them to TxDOT by a Feb. 11 deadline.

“We feel like Burnet County, as a member of CAMPO, would have more input about this matter and CAMPO can do the heavy lifting with TxDOT on this,” Haley said.

He said TAC on Jan. 28 reviewed the findings of an analysis performed by the TxDOT Transportation Planning and Programming Division on National Highway System facilities and their functional classifications.

Rural roadways that are maintained by the state are classified as either interstate highways, principal arterials or minor arterials.

According to a functional classification review done by TxDOT, the three-mile section of Texas 29 from Ranch Road 2341 to US 281 does not meet any of five criteria which would make it eligible to be considered a principal arterial, so it should be reclassified as a minor arterial.

It does not serve any major activity centers, does not serve long-distance travel, does not link the surrounding region with an urban core, does not limit access to surrounding land use and does not link other major regional facilities. Average daily traffic counts on the road range from 4,717 to 15,197 vehicles.

Meanwhile, a functional classification review of Texas 29 from US 281 in Burnet to Texas 130 (Pickle Parkway) in Georgetown has indicated that roadway has met four of five criteria to be identified as a principal arterial and it has been suggested the highway be added to the National Highway System. The road sees average daily traffic counts from between 11,101 cars to 29,212 vehicles.

The National Highway System is a network of strategic highways which serve a variety of transportation facilities, including airports, ports, rail or truck terminals, railway stations and pipeline terminals and are vital to interstate commerce and national defense. The state is encouraged to focus its federal funds on improving these roadways.

“We support the designation of Highway 29 from Burnet to Williamson County line as part of the National Highway System but we oppose any downgrading of Highway 29 west of Burnet,” Oakley said.

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