Round Rock City Council approves transportation plan with $1.1 billion of proposed improvements

I-35 at FM 3406/Old Settlers Boulevard improvements

I-35 at FM 3406/Old Settlers Boulevard improvements

Round Rock potentially took the first step in a more than $1 billion plan of transportation improvements at Thursday night's city council meeting. Council members unanimously approved the Transportation Master Plan, prepared by engineering firm HDR over the past year.

The firm looked forward to 2040 and attempted to provide solutions that would relieve traffic congestion and expand the capacity of roadways for a greater population. The report estimated that the population of Round Rock would be 335,994 in the year 2040, about three times more than today's population.

As part of the process, HDR held two open houses and four neighborhood meetings in each quadrant of Round Rock. The firm also took into account the more than 1,000 respondents to an online survey who answered questions based on areas of most congestion and most dangerous intersections.

The transportation plan will guide the planning efforts of city council and the Transportation Department in the coming years, but are not all recommendations are assured to be made. The plan recommends the city spend $78.4 million on short-term improvements, $273.8 million on mid-range improvements and $793 million on long-term improvements, for a total of more than $1.1 billion.

HDR proposed a variety of funding strategies for this purpose: property tax revenue, cost-participation with local and state partners, economic development agreements, public-private partnerships, development fees and more.

The firm's general recommendations include completing the roadway network for ultimate development, utilizing intelligent transportation systems, coordinating with outside agencies, designing complete streets, considering innovative intersections, implementing access management and planning for a future with transit.

This is the most recent update to the Transportation Master Plan since 2004.