CIBOLO — The controversial Cibolo Parkway toll-road project is still a go despite waning enthusiasm from county and regional officials.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue between Texas Turnpike Corp., the developer, and property owners regarding land deals needed for construction of the public-private roadway.
In the past, TTC has said Cibolo Parkway — designed to alleviate road congestion — is a 7-mile extension of FM 1103 to Interstate 10 East, beginning at the existing intersection of Wagon Wheel Way and 1103.
Mayor Stosh Boyle is surprised TTC is still committed to the venture.
“This isn’t the home run they thought it was going to be when they presented this project to Cibolo,” he said.
TTC owner John Crew told town officials at the June 11 City Council meeting the company obtained right-of-entry access to 73 percent of land parcels along the projected route. The figure didn’t include homebuilder D.R. Horton, which owns multiple plots where the corporation wants to construct the toll road.
The firm appropriated $4 million for initial land purchases; another $12 million for final acquisition is anticipated by the fall, Crew said. If the transactions take place, construction on the now-$152 million tollway is expected to begin within a year.
Originally estimated at $125 million, traffic counts for the turnpike, however, led TTC to reduce the scope of the project from four lanes to two, for the same price.
That shift sparked the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court to ask the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to pull the project from funding consideration.
The AAMPO, which disburses federal money for local transportation endeavors, placed the project under review in March.
Crew attributed the commissioners’ position to a communication error.
“It just got mistranslated toward the end, so they felt (like) the project wasn’t going forward as we discussed,” he said.
Despite declining support, TTC is determined to keep going.
Additional details provided on the roadway involve two phases.
Phase 1 will entail building a two-lane tollway stretching 6.4 miles from 1103 at Weil Road to Zuehl Road and I-10.
In conjunction with this stage, 1103 is to be widened from I-10 to Rodeo Way, scheduled to commence in May 2020.
Phase 2 construction will involve two tolled express lanes and three overpasses running 2.7 miles. That portion will begin after the 1103 project is completed and turned over to the city.
When finished, each driving lane will be 12 feet in width, with inside and outside shoulders 10 feet and 4 feet, respectively.
“The hurdles are pretty big with the MPO (reviewing the project) and the (declining support) from (Guadalupe County). Any properties they (acquire) within extraterritorial jurisdiction have to be approved by the county,” Boyle said.
During meetings in recent years, TTC officials told Cibolo 1103 and other thoroughfares are getting crowded as motorists bypass Interstate 35 to connect with I-10.
According to a timeline on the city’s website, the Texas Department of Transportation in 2006 commissioned a road study of 1103 “to consider realigning and extending FM 1103 to I-10.” However, state funding was unavailable.
The site noted the report “was performed by RJ Rivera Associates Inc. and finalized in November 2007,” adding, “The extension and realignment of FM 1103 to I-10 was formally recognized in 2006 by the City Council and was incorporated into Cibolo’s Future Land Use Map and Future Thoroughfare Plan and … Capital Improvement Plan over the last 10 years.”
Under the original proposal, Cibolo entered into a public/private partnership to build 1103 as a tollway, “with construction complete in as early as five years, at no financial cost or risk to the city.”
Though the town would own the road, “a private partner would provide financing, design, planning, construction, maintenance of operation of the project for a contracted period of time, thus assuming all of the associated risks,” the site said.
In the duration, the project has drawn criticism and even occasional protest from toll-road opponents.