Glimpses of highway construction seen near Lockhart
By LPR Staff
As Caldwell County property owners continue to work with the SH130 Concession Company on right-of-way acquisition and politicians grapple with the potential impact of the road’s construction, residents and commuters west of Lockhart can see the first ripples of activity on Borchert Loop.
In June of this year, Central
Texas Highway Constructors, LLC, (CTHC) purchased eight acres of property, including a warehouse and an office building, from Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, which will be the construction project’s base of operations in Caldwell County.
According to Victoria Miller with the SH130 Concession Company, CTHC is using the warehouse space as a temporary office, while they renovate the office building. When the renovation is complete and as construction gets underway, she said, CTHC hopes to employ as many as 60 people at the Caldwell County office.
Early in the process, representatives from SH130 and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) assured Lockhart and Caldwell County officials they intended to base their operations near Lockhart, which is near the center of the 40-mile project which will eventually link I-35 north of Georgetown with I-10 near Seguin.
Construction of Segments 5 and 6 of the massive project, which will run from Mustang Ridge through Travis, Caldwell and Guadalupe Counties, is expected to begin next year. The highway should be complete and open for traffic in 2012.
As construction presses forward, Lockhart’s leaders are wrestling with the aesthetics of the project. During a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion on Monday evening, members of the council tried to determine the best course of action regarding billboards on the highway.
Lockhart Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram introduced a proposal for an ordinance which would prohibit billboards and other off-premise signage on the portion of the highway that runs through Lockhart’s city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction. The measure, Bertram said, was intended to protect the natural beauty of the landscape and designate the route as what he called a “scenic area.”
He encouraged instead participation in a state-sponsored advertising program that allows service-based businesses such as restaurants, gas stations and hotels to advertise on “cluster signs” located near off ramps.
Bertram’s proposal was met with some resistance, as it would limit the use of property not only in the state-owned right of way, but on the private properties adjacent to the highway. Property owners such as Bill Cardwell and Doug Spillman, along with local business owners Kent and Terry Black, warned the council such a measure could be detrimental not only to the property owners, but to the many businesses that are not located on the main thoroughfares the highway will intersect.
Confusion on the part of some councilmembers led the ordinance to be tabled. It will be revisited in November.
Property owners and residents with questions or concerns about the highway’s impending construction are encouraged to contact the SH130 Concession Company at (877) SH130TX (741-3089), visit the website at www.mysh130.com, or visit the O.R. Colan right of way office at 1001 W. San Antonio St. in Lockhart.