An access road to the schools has been long-pursued by Leander ISD, which included the design and mitigation costs for such a road in its 2017 bond election. The road is intended to provide traffic relief and increase safety, offering a way for emergency vehicles to access the schools.
Austin City Council approved the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan on April 11. The plan offers a blueprint and goals for future transportation around the city.
The access road included in the plan would run through the former 3M campus property to connect McNeil Road to Four Points Drive and River Place Boulevard, according to Kate Messer, communications director for Jimmy Flannigan, Austin City Council member District 6, and District 6 Policy Director Taylor Smith. District 6 and District 10 represent the area where the road would be located.
Messer and Smith said the addition of the access road in the plan is just the first step toward constructing the road.
"Now begins the work of developing a project plan, identifying funding, engaging in the permit review process, engineering analysis, [requests for proposals] and more," according to the District 6 office. "This does not mean construction starts next week or even next year, but it does mean the concept is approved and moving forward."
They said including the road project in the plan enables the city of Austin to require right of way and construction as future development on the former 3M campus engages in rezoning or the site plan stage.
#ATXCouncil passes ASMP including our amendment for the road connection to Vandegrift HS. This is supported by my colleague @LesliePoolATX who also Chairs the BCCC and @ALTERforATX from D10 that covers the campus area... pic.twitter.com/6LyA0pIelz
— Jimmy Flannigan (@JimmyFlannigan) April 11, 2019
The proposal to construct the road on the former 3M campus differs from LISD’s plan for the road, which would run through protected Balcones Canyonlands Preserve land. The district must acquire a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to build the road, a permit LISD continues to pursue. LISD began working to create the access road in 2012, according to the district website.
In an April 16 statement, LISD Superintendent Dan Troxell said the district is appreciative of Flannigan and the city of Austin for adding the project to the mobility plan.
“The road the city proposes is a good project to create an additional access point onto and off of our campuses,” Troxell said. “Due to the safety needs for emergency vehicles to access the campus from 620 and for traffic congestion relief on FM 2222, we will continue to pursue all access routes to ensure the safety of students, teachers, staff and families.”