US 281 Corridor Study
US 281 Hamilton corridor study and US 281 relief route
US 281 (American Legion Memorial Highway) is a heavily traveled north-south facility listed on both the National Highway System and TxDOT Freight Network. Relied upon daily by local travelers, trucking industries, and as alternate to traveling I-35, US 281 is the longest continuous three-digit United States Highway route, spanning 1,875 miles from Texas’ Rio Grande valley northward to the Canada border.
Due to increasing congestion along US 281 within Hamilton County, TxDOT's Waco District is initiating a study to propose expanding US 281 with added travel lanes, between the city of Hico southward to the city of Evant. The study also includes the segment of US 281 which spans the city of Hamilton and will overall consider, explore and evaluate all transportation improvements and upgrades to US 281.
US 281 improvement options are being explored and evaluated to produce an optimum US 281 solutions package which takes into account the study’s primary objectives:
- Mobility and Congestion Relief
As a means of achieving the objectives, the study involves:
- Data collection and an inventory of existing transportation system features (including traffic origin and destination data, operating conditions, and safety issues)
- Analysis of current and future traffic forecasts and travel demand modeling
- Development of the purpose and need statement and project goals
- Development of inventory of environmental and community features
- Development of alternative improvements and preliminary cost estimates
- Identification of future transportation improvement projects
- Evaluation of potential impacts and cost-benefit analysis for proposed improvements
A critical element in achieving a successful study is public and stakeholder engagement. The US 281 study will include public meetings and public hearings as well as meetings with other agencies and organizations and members of the community. The public will be invited to provide their input in a variety of ways, including virtual engagement.
The study is evaluating existing conditions and performing US 281 corridor analyses in order to recommended US 281 improvements such as the proposed addition of travel lanes. These improvements are based on various factors, including the minimization of potential impacts to natural and cultural resources. Throughout the study many opportunities are being provided for public input and feedback on:
- Existing constraints
- Improvements needed
- Current and future concerns
- Preferred alignment / congestion solution options
- Additional considerations for project team
- Project recommendations
The study began in Spring 2022 and the current milestone schedule is as follows:
- Public Meeting Series No. 1 – Summer/Fall 2022
- Public Meeting Series No. 2 – Summer 2023
- Public Hearing Series – Summer 2024
In conjunction with this study, the Waco District has also initiated a US 281 Feasibility Study to explore and evaluate a Relief Route around the city of Hamilton to alleviate congestion within the Hamilton and its downtown square district.