Rollingwood City Council met June 16 to continue the multiyear discussion surrounding an impending expansion of South MoPac—one of the state’s most congested roadways, according to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
The project, which is focused on the section of MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane, kicked off in 2013 when the Mobility Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation took on an environmental study to determine how to improve mobility and safety, according to the project's website.
Within the last year, the nearby city of Rollingwood engaged the law firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP to aid in the monitoring of the project and assist the city in its response. Rollingwood has also been in contact with an engineer to evaluate the various expansion options.
The Mobility Authority previously established six options for the project, which included plans for up to two express lanes with either a downtown direct connection or an elevated ramp near Barton Skyway.
However, a regional transportation plan released in 2020 contradicted at least three of those options, Phillip Arnold, an attorney with Bickerstaff, told council.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2045 plan was approved in May 2020 and outlined several requirements for the potential expansion. The plan called for an auxiliary lane on southbound MoPac from the Bee Cave Road entrance ramp to the southbound Capital of Texas Hwy. ramp and an acceleration lane.
Arnold said CAMPO’s 2045 plan was based on traffic modeling and environmental studies that were not available when the Mobility Authority first developed its expansion options. While Arnold presumed the Mobility Authority has compared CAMPO’s data to its initial plans, there is a question as to whether the remaining project options are viable when evaluated under this new data.
Additionally, neither the public nor Rollingwood have access to CAMPO’s 2045 underlying data as it has not been released to the public.
Bickerstaff determined Rollingwood’s next steps should include inquiries to the Mobility Authority regarding this information and whether additional plans are under development. The city will also need to determine what information will be included in the project’s fifth open house event, which is scheduled to take place in the fall.
“I think these are really tangible steps to take,” Council Member Amy Patillo said, adding that the city should take an opportunity to connect with James Bass, the Mobility Authority's newly appointed executive director.
As a result, council unanimously approved a motion to authorize Bickerstaff to draft a letter to Bass and the Mobility Authority.
More information on the MoPac South project can be found here.