HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) —Hays County commissioners addressed concerns about the State Highway 45 expansion project. Concerns were laid out in a letter sent by Travis County Commissioners Court.

The project would complete the loop around Austin letting drivers avoid Interstate 35.

It’s an expansion Shannon Williams supports. She lives about a half a mile from the SH 45 and 1626 interchange. She sees the traffic that builds up there.

“We have people that cut through our neighborhood,” Williams said.

That’s why she said she supports connecting the SH 45 loop at FM 1626 with I-35 in Buda.

Map of the SH 45 Southwest Connector plan
Hays County commissioners said this project is funded by both the county and the City of Buda.

“Just to help the citizens live comfortably where we are living due to all the impact of the growth and the change,” Williams said.

However, Travis County commissioners feel differently. They sent out a letter citing environmental and traffic worries. During Tuesdays meeting, Hays County Commissioners Court discussed those concerns.

“Let’s make sure that we don’t leave out our very critical neighbors in this process,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said.

Hays County Commissioner Walt Smith said the project is only in its beginning stages, and studies will be done to address concerns.

“The process that we’ve undertaken really is the first step in looking at that overall environmental clearance for the project,” Smith said.

In the letter, Travis County commissioners said they’d like to have a voice in these discussions. That’s something Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones said will happen.

“I will be speaking to at least two of their commissioners every month at CAMPO and giving them an update on what I know about the project and where we are,” Jones said.

Leaders are in the design phase and are still figuring out the route of the highway.

For Williams, it’s much needed infrastructure she said will support growth in the county.

“We really need to focus on the things that will make us better,” Williams said.

A separate concern brought up during public comment was both Jones and Smith received contributions from CP&Y, the engineering consulting firm awarded the SH 45 project.

Many people asked they return the $2,500 they each received. In response, both Jones and Smith told KXAN the donation did not have an impact on choosing the firm.