Steiner Ranch evacuation route nearly half complete with design phase

An evacuation road intended for residents of Steiner Ranch has been delayed and modified due mainly to a deferment of funds by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization from several road projects to the overhaul of I-35.

On July 9, 2019, Travis County commissioners voted unanimously July 9 to select a path dubbed Route B, a 900-foot gated connection between Flat Top Ranch Road and Montview Drive, that will be constructed for $650,000 and have a capacity of 750 vehicles per hour.

That choice was made after several factors upended officials’ original choice, Route F, which would have been a two-lane road connecting Flat Top Ranch Road and RM 620 and open to the public at all times. If chosen, it would have cost $7.2 million to construct and would have had a capacity of 1,500 vehicles per hour.

Initially, county staff had planned to apply for grant funds from the CAMPO to pay for Route F; however, CAMPO decided to funnel its grant funds to the Mobility35 Capital Express Project, which will revamp I-35.

Without the option of CAMPO funds, Route B is “a viable option that we can build quickly and affordably and within our budget,” Assistant Public Works Director David Greear said last year.

Now, the construction of Route B is in the design phase, according to Travis County Transportation and natural Resources Engineer Kathy Hardin.

County staff held a virtual open house May 6-May 22 that helped answer residents’ questions about the route.

According to the most recent information from Travis County, Route B will connect Flat Top Ranch Road to Montview Drive, include a 20-foot-wide paved road with two-foot shoulders, and contain two gates with the potential for a third gate.

The two planned gates are located at Flat Top Ranch Road and the rear lot line of the Montview lot, and the third gate will be determined by a Montview lot property owner.

Hardin said right now, the county is hoping to negotiate an easement from the private property owner to continue the project.

“We’re pressing on with design [of the project right now],” Hardin said. “Everyone is working together—the property owner and the Steiner Ranch Masters Association—we’re all working together to move forward.”

Surveys, geotechnical work and environmental research have been conducted regarding the project, and Hardin said the design phase is now about 40% complete.

“We should finish design by the end of this year, and start construction by the end of this year or early 2021,” Hardin said.

Est. construction cost: $650,000

Est. completion: Construction scheduled to commence 2021 and last into 2022

Funding source: Travis County
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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