Highway-related construction takes off
By LPR Staff
Though ground has not officially broken on Segments 5 and 6 of State Highway 130, the initial impact of construction can already be felt in Caldwell County.
Unlike so many construction groundbreakings that progress slowly, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working at an accelerated pace to complete constr
uction on the State Highway 130 Wetlands Mitigation site, often referred to as “the wetlands park,” located in the Plum Creek basin near Highway 183.
TxDOT broke ground on the project in January, and has achieved 30 percent of completion of the project, as of this week.
According to a report from Lockhart City Manager Vance Rodgers, while TxDOT crews are moving earth, building roads and pathways and preparing to “restore” the wetlands impacted by the construction of State Highway 130, fabricators are also working on off-site construction of the site’s facilities, including restrooms.
When completed, the wetlands park will include nearly 300 acres of ponds, marsh grasses and creekbed, a prime habitation spot for several varieties of local wildlife. In addition, hiking trails, educational materials and park facilities will be included at the site.
Lockhart and Caldwell County will maintain a joint lease on the property for a period of time, during which, while TxDOT will own the property, the local entities will be responsible for maintenance. To aid in that task, TxDOT has put up the sum of $400,000, which will be split between the two entities.
Much of Lockhart’s portion of the funds was invested in the project on the front end, to build amenities such as restrooms, playground equipment and parking facilities. The County intends set their portion aside, using it as needed to maintain what will be the “natural” portion of the site, with fewer amenities.
This construction is not the only impact Caldwell County will feel as the highway progresses.
TxDOT announced this week that Segment 4 of State Highway 130 is slated for completion and opening this month.
Segment 4 will complete the route from Georgetown to Mustang Ridge and will allow drivers to avoid downtown Austin and IH-35 altogether. From the intersection of SH-130 at Highway 183, it will be an approximately 35-mile journey to I-10 in Luling, via 183. The idea that many truckers and other travelers will choose that shorter route, rather than returning to I-35 to join I-10 in San Antonio, has city and county leaders concerned about an increase of traffic congestion through Caldwell County, particularly in Lockhart and Luling.
Meanwhile, construction continues on the overpass of the Union Pacific Railroad on State Highway 183, creating another degree of congestion throughout downtown Lockhart.
While these projects are ongoing. local drivers are reminded to use alternate routes, including Blanco Street, FM 2001 and Stueve Lane during the highest-congestion periods, including rush hours.