By Kathi Bliss
The Texas Department of Tranportation (TxDOT) announced this week that several road and bridge improvement projects have been funded for construction this year, including one that hopes to offer drivers safer travel on Highway 80 in Caldwell County.
According to Caldwell County Judge Tom Bonn, Baytown-based Angel Brothers Enteprises entered a bid in the amount of $499,500 for construction of an 1,800-foot center turn lane at the intersection of Highway 80 at FM 20 in Fentress, as well as installation of center-lane rumble strips between Fentress and Luling.
“This project was driven by discussions with Caldwell County and local residents under the supervision of District Engineer Greg Malatek and Area Engineer Roy Dill,” Bonn said.
In recent years, the Fentress intersection has been in road improvement crosshairs, as it has been the site of several fatal and near-fatal crashes, at all hours of the day.
“As your County Judge I have encouraged more participation with TxDOT on these important safety issues and active dialog between our agencies,” Bonn said. “This project is a tribute to our joint cooperations.”
Drivers using SH 123 south of San Marcos will also see some changes and a better ride, according to TxDOT. Hunter Industries won two contracts worth a combined $12.2 million to repair and resurface the road between Old Bastrop Highway and the Guadalupe County line, as well as building an overpass at the RM 12 intersection.
These projects, along with other projects granted throughout the area, combined for a total of $52.5 million in construction awards in TxDOT’s Austin District this summer.
“In a state as vast as Texas, it’s imperative to not only have reliable roadways connecting our rural and urban citizens, but also to be diligent in designing and maintaining them with safety in mind,” said Commissioner Fred Underwood of Texas Transportation Commission. “Keeping everyone safe on the road is our first priority. We must do everything we can to get the driving public safely to their destinations and home to their families at the end of the day.”
Bonn said the construction on Highway 80 is expected to begin in September, and should be complete by Spring 2015.
In addition to this project, Bonn and the Caldwell County Commissioners continue to work with Malatek, Dill and members of not only TxDOT but also the Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CARTPO) and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) toward additional improvements under the Caldwell County Transportation Plan.