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Liberty Hill ISD parents want traffic light at ‘dangerous’ intersection

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Parents of Liberty Hill ISD have reported bumper-to-bumper traffic jams at the intersection of Ronald Reagan Highway and Bar W Boulevard. The backlog of cars has prompted a demand for a traffic light at the junction, but infrastructure officials say it could take more than a year.

This section of the Ronald Reagan Highway separates the boroughs of Rancho Sierra and Bar W. Leander City Manager Rick Beverlin said while the road itself is within the jurisdiction of the City of Leander, the boroughs are their own municipal service districts in an unincorporated portion of the Williamson County.

He said the rapid growth of the boroughs has resulted in more cars navigating the street as the sub-boroughs converge on the Ronald Reagan Highway. LHISD parents said the new Bar W Elementary campus, which opened this school year, also contributed to the traffic problem.

Beverlin said that because these neighborhoods are not within the city limits, they do not contribute to the taxes and hence infrastructure of the city of Leander. He said the city is now considering reallocating funds from projects already budgeted to accommodate requests for a traffic light.

He said the city is also in discussions with Liberty Hill ISD and Williamson County about potentially splitting the cost of this stoplight so it can be built more quickly. Beverly estimates the cost at $1 million.

“There have been many developments that went beyond infrastructure. Be it roads, signals or water, faster than the city can actually build them,” Beverlin said.

Parents say crossing is dangerous and concerned for student safety

In the humid morning air, lines of cars wait to drop their students off at the doors of Bar W Elementary.

Chelsea Dawson is a mother waiting in line to take her daughter to class.

She said there had always been problems with traffic at this intersection near the school, but the opening of the new school made the problem even more apparent.

“It’s not the commute that’s the problem. “Safety is my number one concern,” Dawson said.

Dawson said drop-off traffic coincides with commuter traffic. She said fast cars worried her even more.

“They come to 65-70, sometimes even faster. It’s very dangerous to drive out there, especially if you’re coming from where the school is — and you’re trying to turn left and go into the subdivisions,” Dawson said.

Beverlin said it was likely a temporary traffic light would be erected at the intersection, but the permitting, bidding and budgeting process for a permanent traffic light could take more than a year.

“There comes a time when you have to pool the money, program it, design it, and then engineer it according to state law. There are a lot of boxes to check,” Beverlin said.

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