Victory on Hwy 46!

The Bulverde City Council didn’t buy into TxDOT’s bullying and rejected their pass through finance agreement to expand Hwy 46 to a gigantic 6 lane truck route! Not even Loop 1604 or Hwy 281 in Comal County have 6 lanes! TxDOT would not agree to ANY of the concessions Bulverde was asking for, all very reasonable, like paring it down to 4 lanes, taking out the toll clause, removing the truck turnarounds, considering the addition of an interchange at 281 in the project, etc.

Greg Malatek of TxDOT wasn’t willing to put anything in writing, refused to remove the toll clause, made threats like “this is your last chance,” and kept telling them it’s TxDOT that will decide the size, scope, and engineering of the project, period. So Bulverde said, “no deal.” In other words, it’s the same ol’ song from TxDOT: “do it our way, or you don’t get your improvements.” The residents and duly elected officials representing their constituents can go jump in Canyon Lake as far as TxDOT is concerned. Time to rein in the TxDOT dictatorship, and clean house in Austin Nov 7, starting with the head of this snake…Governor Perry who appoints this power-hungry, callous, and bossy Transportation Commission!

The Bulverde City Council is in good company…see what TxDOT is trying to pull over in El Paso here.

Bulverde turns down Texas 46 expansion plans

By Jessica Sanders
The Herald-Zeitung
July 26, 2006

Texas 46 expansions will not include the city of Bulverde.

Bulverde City Council members voted 3-1 against a plan that would allow the Texas Department of Transportation to expand Texas 46 through Bulverde. Councilwoman Pam Cole voted in favor of the project, and Councilman Mark Mobley was absent.

Councilwoman Cindy Cross said she was worried that a larger road would invite more traffic, and possibly allow Texas 46 to become a hazardous cargo route past San Antonio.

“I’m not ready to commit the citizen’s money to this project,” she said. “There are just too many unknowns.”

Mayor Sarah Stevick said the project would require the city to pay for right-of-way acquisition, at a price of about $790,000 over seven years.This would have increased taxes by about 2.5 cents, she said.

Stevick said that, during a July 6 informational meeting, council asked TxDOT for changes to their original plan. They suggested adjustment to the amount of right-of-way requested. They also wanted two truck turnarounds removed and to have the road striped for four lanes instead of six.

TxDOT area engineer Greg Malatek said that, while changes are possible, he could make no guarantees.

“We would not make six lanes because we want to pave the whole world,” he said. “We look at safety first and if our studies and traffic engineers feel that making six lanes is safer, that’s what we’ll do.”

Resident Elizabeth Morris said the highway runs past her property, and she has only noticed heavy traffic during a few hours in the morning and afternoon. Otherwise, traffic consists of construction vehicles and boaters headed to Canyon Lake.

After 9 p.m. there’s nobody on the road,” she said. “I think if we make this six lanes, eventually it will become a route for San Antonio truck traffic. I did not move out here to have something bigger than 1604 in my backyard.”

The project to widen the highway has already been approved in New Braunfels and Comal County. Because the plan was rejected, the road will not be improved past the intersection of Sun Valley Drive and Highway 46.

Resident Dick McCaleb said he was concerned that the only places where there is a consistent traffic problem is in front of the area schools. To create a huge road for such a specific area, he said, would ruin the feeling of the town.

The master plan talks about maintaining a Hill Country feel,” he said. “If we drop a six-lane road in Bulverde, it’s not going to have that appeal.

However, Bulverde Police Chief Royce Goodson said the traffic problem is more widespread than some residents think. He said there have been 159 accidents on Highway 46 in the last 18 months.

“I’ve been on a scene several times where there’s one accident and then two and three more, like a chain reaction,” he said. “It is a problem and I do feel that if we had four lanes it would be less of a problem.”

Council asked Malatek if TxDOT would fund smaller scale improvements instead, such as the addition of turning lanes. He said that when a city agrees to allow TxDOT to work in an area, the work will be done by TxDOT’s standards and designs will be chosen by the department.

City Administrator John Hobson said he realized that a large road would change the town, but traffic and car accidents will also disrupt small town life.

“There is no doubt that there is a problem on Highway 46, and no doubt that we want to keep the rural feel,” he said. “It’s a difficult balance.”