Williamson County considering bond election for millions in road, park improvements

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County commissioners are thinking through which road and park projects to prioritize, while they’re considering an election later this year for millions of dollars in bonds.

A citizens bond committee initially recommended a bond package to the Commissioners Court that included $573 million for roads and $81 million for parks. County Judge Bill Gravell, however, expressed concern about those amounts, so he asked the commissioners to narrow the list of projects in their precincts to bring down the potential spending.

At their meeting Tuesday, the commissioners whittled down the list so that the bond totals currently stand at $412 million for roads and $35 million for parks. Gravell also asked them to name a handful of projects that they considered to be the most important to them.

Commissioner Terry Cook for Precinct One identified four projects as her top priorities:

  • $5.5 million for Forest North drainage improvements.
  • $27.5 million to build three lanes of a future six-lane road on Sam Bass Road from Wyoming Springs Drive to R.M. 1431.
  • $10 million for a new four-lane, divided road extending Wyoming Springs Drive from Brightwater Boulevard/Creek Bend Boulevard to Sam Bass Road.
  • $300,000 to add a left turning lane at the intersection of Wyoming Springs Drive and Smyers Lane.

The proposed improvements along Wyoming Springs Drive excited Chris Young, who lives in a neighborhood in that area of Round Rock.

“The county and the city need to build up the infrastructure because it’s a very attractive place for people to live [and] to work,” Young told KXAN Thursday. “We need the infrastructure to support that.”

Commissioner Cynthia Long for Precinct Two listed several other proposals as priorities to include in the potential bond package:

  • $10.7 million to extend Toro Grande Boulevard to a four-lane, divided road from Whitestone Boulevard to Palmer Lane in Cedar Park.
  • $4 million to plan & design a widening of Whitestone Boulevard in Cedar Park from four to six lanes from Bagdad Road to Anderson Mill Road.

Commissioner Valerie Covey for Precinct Three named six projects as her top priorities:

  • $19.7 million to extend Southeast Inner Loop from Sam Houston Avenue to S.H. 29 with two frontage roads, which would included a local match from the City of Georgetown.
  • $5.4 million to extend the Southwest Bypass by adding a frontage road from S.H. 29 to Wolf Ranch Parkway and including intersection improvements at S.H. 29.
  • $6.5 million to reconstruct and widen County Road 245 to four lanes north of R.M. 2338 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard.
  • $2 million for intersection improvements from Ronald Reagan Boulevard to Silver Spur Boulevard.
  • $3.6 million to add a northbound exit ramp on S.H. 195 at Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

Commissioner Russ Boles for Precinct Four cited three specific projects as his top priorities in the potential road bond:

  • $8 million to design and build a northbound frontage road on S.H. 130 from Limmer Loop to U.S. 79.
  • $15.9 million to widen County Road 112 to four lanes from F.M. 1460/A.W. Grimes to County Road 117.
  • $18.9 million to widen County Road 112 to four lanes from County Road 117 to County Road 110.

Bryon Borchers served on the citizens bond committee. Even though the commissioners already cut some of the projects recommended by him and the other committee members, Borchers told KXAN that whichever proposals are ultimately included in the final bond package would help improve safety throughout the county.

“All the work that’s gone into this, we get to see that in the future,” Borchers said, “not only for me and my family, but for my kids and their kids, so it’s really kind of exciting.”

The commissioners will likely finalize the bond package and possibly call for an election in November during their upcoming meeting on August 6.

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