The relocation of the light signal on Hwy. 29 and the H-E-B driveway more east as well as the addition of deceleration lanes into the development are in the works in order to address a potential increase in traffic, according to city of Georgetown and Wolf Crossing officials.
“One thing to keep in mind about traffic in general around Georgetown is the amount of growth that has continued for the last several years and doesn’t look to be slowing down,” city Director of Public Works Ray Miller wrote in an email. “It takes some time to develop, design, fund and construct large roadway or infrastructure projects that will help with the increase in traffic that is due to growth.”
Wolf Crossing is a 250,000-square-foot property located along I-35 and Hwy. 29 across from H-E-B and will bring about 25 businesses to the area. Goodwill was the first to open Oct. 10 with more scheduled to open by year’s end, said Jon Switzer, senior vice president for JLL, the Realtor for the development. Twenty-three businesses were confirmed to join the development as of Oct. 21.
A traffic impact analysis, or TIA, conducted by Alliance Transportation Group looked at current traffic and how much more will be generated by the development, Miller said. This allows traffic engineers to determine what improvements to the roadway will be needed to allow for safe access to and from the new development as well as minimize impacts to existing traffic, he said.
According to the study conducted for this project, as many as 11,000 cars move east and westbound on University Avenue in front of the H-E-B between 7-9 a.m. during the school year.
In addition, nearly 16,000 cars move east and westbound on University Avenue in front of the H-E-B between 4-6 p.m. during the school year.
The study looked at traffic on Hwy. 29 and the I-35 frontage roads as well as the intersections of the H-E-B driveway on Hwy. 29, the future H-E-B driveway farther east on Hwy. 29 and at Scenic Drive, city officials said.
“The city requires a TIA that will address the increase in traffic as much as the traffic law will allow,” Miller said. “The developer can only be responsible for his proportion of the congestion, [and] if the TIA shows an improvement that is needed at an intersection, the Wolf Crossing developer will pay for his portion, and other developers will need to make up the difference.”
There will be four entrances to the development—with two on I-35 and two on Hwy. 29, said Kevin Hunter, chief operations officer and chief financial officer with CSW Development, the project developer.
CSW Developers are adding three deceleration lanes at the two I-35 frontage road entrances and one on Hwy. 29 eastbound, at the cost of $810,000, Hunter said. The developers will fund the construction, but the city will complete the projects, he said.
The developers are also responsible for constructing turning lanes, restriping the pavement and signal timing modification, according to the TIA. The total for the transportation project is estimated to be $165,550 at full cost to the developer, the document said.
In 2030, 10 years after build-out, the developers will also be responsible for additional turning lanes and restriping along Hwy. 29 at the H-E-B driveway and Scenic Drive, the TIA states.
The total for these improvements is estimated to be $86,155 and are at full cost to the developer as well, it said.
The city reviews and approves all applications and permits needed to develop property within the city limits, city officials said. Officials added that when a project creates more than 2,000 average daily trips, a traffic impact analysis needs to be completed.
The TIA was conducted in August 2017 and accepted by the city in March 2018. The original site-development plan was approved by the city in September 2018.
Wolf Crossing broke ground Oct. 2, 2018.
“[The development] will serve not only the residents of Georgetown but also our primary trade area, which is more than 130,000 people,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said at the time.
The city is also working in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation to improve traffic congestion along Hwy. 29 by moving the light signal at the corner of Hwy. 29 and the H-E-B driveway east of where it is currently located. This, Miller said, will be done in conjunction with the installation of a concrete median to help minimize left turns except at those locations where left turns will be allowed.
“Moving the traffic signal farther east on [Hwy.] 29 to line up with the new H-E-B entrance that will be there will help with traffic queues and signal timing,” Miller wrote in an email. “A greater separation between that signal and the one at the I-35 frontage road will allow for better signal timing that will allow for an increased movement of traffic through both lights.”
Miller added that Williamson County is also working to improve roadways in Georgetown with Southwest Bypass Phase 2, expected to be completed in late 2019, and it will offer drivers an alternate route to southbound I-35 and for those who travel north on I-35 that want to go west on Hwy. 29.
Wolf Crossing offerings
When full, Wolf Crossing will bring nearly 25 businesses including retail, dining and entertainment options, such as an Olive Garden, Aldi grocery store and CareNow Urgent Care center, Switzer said.
The center will have eight dining options, five retail stores, four beauty and fitness businesses, and four health care providers. There will also be a grocery store and a Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Developers also plan to add walking trails along the San Gabriel River, south of the property.
“These business are regional and local providers,” Hunter said. “We are providing a smaller development scale that is complementing the river.” The development will also have 1,118 total parking spaces, 32 of which are in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, confirmed Stephanie Montemayor, an analyst on the project.
Switzer said the development looks to increase amenity offerings to residents that need to be experienced rather than accomplished on the internet.
“We’ve tried to build [Wolf Crossing] for needs that you cannot get online,” Switzer said. “Our focus is to be somewhat internet-proof and have it be experiential retail, so that people need to go into the store for fitness, food or entertainment.”