With road construction ongoing in many areas of the city, the city manager’s transportation report at Monday’s city council meeting covered a wide range of topics.
Mike Slye started his report with news that the long-awaited traffic signal at State Hwy. 243 (East Mulberry) and the new State Hwy. 34 bypass is scheduled to start construction Feb. 11.
Next he turned to S. Washington Street, which is part of the State Hwy. 34 business route through town.
The state is redoing the road (along with East Mulberry). Slye said he had met with Texas Department of Transportation officials about the drainage issues along South Washington which are related to the city project to rebuild Houston and Fourth Streets.
Slye said there is “no ink on paper,” but the state has committed to providing resources to make those improvements, which will include redoing sidewalks.
Slye said that could mean the city will undertake the project using state funds.
When the repaved road is restriped, it will include markings that a left turn is not allowed from southbound Washington onto Tabor Parkway (old CR 151).
Slye said he also asked the state about an alternate truck route around the courthouse square, which is undergoing a major redevelopment project.
The turning radius for large trucks is becoming more narrow, he explained. Crews are installing sidewalk bump outs to make the square more pedestrian friendly.
Slye said the state had agreed to place sign message boards on U.S. Hwy. 175 warning truckers about the restricted space.
Mayor Jeff Jordan suggested asking the state to change the signs for the Kaufman exit which now directs eastbound traffic to Canton through the square instead of the new bypass.
Slye said the city’s request to turn FM 1388 and the Hwy. 34 business route back to the city – which would allow truck traffic to be restricted – is progressing through right-of-way transfer in Austin.
Next Slye addressed the city street projects.
“Mother Nature has really done us a number,” he said. “It may seem like it’s dragging on and on and on, and it is.”
The Houston and Fourth St, projects are running behind due to weather delays, and also surprises that have been discovered.
“Some of the reality is not having control of what went underground,” he said.
Fourth Street is getting close to being able to start street construction.
The next phase of road improvements is 50 percent designed, Slye said. He said the idea is that as Houston and Fourth is wrapping up, the next project will be bid. It includes the streets in the area of Royal, Ninth, Crestview and Main.
The Dallas St. drainage improvement project – between Mulberry and Ninth – will be ready for a preconstruction meeting once public utilities can be cleared from the right-of-way, Slye said.