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.


MOST RECENT

The Austin School of Fashion Design, or ASFD, relocated from North Austin to Georgetown in October. (Courtesy The Austin School of Fashion Design)
Austin School of Fashion Design moves to Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Ahead of Election Day, Nov. 3, four Austin City Council members have asked Austin Police Chief Brian Manley for more information on the police department's plans to respond to possible protests. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council members ask police to detail response to possible Election Day protests

The four council members said protests from the spring represented "a failure to keep people safe" and asked Chief Brian Manley for more information to how police would respond to potential protests around Nov. 3.

After a significant drop soon after the onset of COVID-19, home sales nationally have risen in the past few months. Austin has followed the same trend, but in a more pronounced manner. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's economy is crawling slowly back to recovery. So why is the housing market booming?

Low interest rates, constricted supply and continued population growth have accelerated the sellers' market in Central Texas, leaving 26% fewer homes on the market this September than there were at the same time last year.

Local violinist Shawn LeSure
HAAM gets funding boost from Central Health to enroll musicians of color in health coverage

Days ahead of open enrollment beginning in the health care marketplace, Travis County’s health care district and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians struck a deal to secure increased health care coverage for the city’s musicians of color.

Less than a week ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day, Cihan Varol, an associate professor with Sam Houston State University's Cyber Forensics Intelligence Center, shared insight on foreign election hacking and what it means for voters. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Sam Houston State University cyber forensics intelligence expert talks foreign election hacking ahead of Nov. 3

"There is a very slim chance that the hackers can change vote count, but they can definitely influence people to believe that they did manipulate it," Cihan Varol said. "If election fraud is going to happen, it'll be because of disinformation."

Council reviewed renderings for a potential condominiums slated for 1801 Westlake Drive. (Rendering courtesy city of West Lake Hills)
Condos could replace apartment complex at 1801 Westlake Drive

Owners of the Boca Chica Apartments at 1801 Westlake Drive in West Lake Hills are proposing to demolish the existing complex to construct two condominium buildings in its place.

Face coverings are not required for those entering polling places in Texas during the general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UPDATED: U.S. appeals court pauses decision voiding face covering exemption at polling places

The court temporarily stayed a district judge's decision to void an exemption to Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide face covering order concerning polling places.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir speaks to reporters Oct. 28 at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County breaking voting records; clerk expects turnout to climb as high as 80%

More than 480,000 ballots have been cast in Travis County, surpassing the total from the 2016 presidential election.

Frustration and misunderstanding dominated the public comment period of Bee Cave City Council’s Oct. 27 remote meeting—when 13 citizens commented regarding a new residential development along Hamilton Pool Road and the public utility agency that will service it. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff Photo)
Hamilton Pool Road residents frustrated over development, lack of representation

Frustration and misunderstanding dominated the public comment period of Bee Cave City Council’s Oct. 27 remote meeting—when 13 citizens commented regarding a new residential development along Hamilton Pool Road and the public utility agency that will service it.

The city of Lakeway was recognized as a Scenic City in October. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway earns Scenic City certification

The city of Lakeway was recognized as Platinum Scenic City this month, which is the highest level awarded within the 2020 Scenic City Certification program.

After going into executive session to discuss the matter, Bee Cave City Council voted at its Oct. 27 meeting to purchase a 2.78-acre lot and fund the purchase with the sale of tax notes. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bee Cave to purchase parcel connecting Central Park to SH 71

After going into executive session to discuss the matter, Bee Cave City Council voted at its Oct. 27 meeting to purchase a 2.78-acre lot and fund the purchase with the sale of tax notes.

Photo of boarded-up Sixth Street bars
With COVID-19 projections 'bleak' through Thanksgiving, Travis County keeps bars closed

Statistical models from the University of Texas show a 92% chance the pandemic is worsening, but the increase in cases and hospitalizations have leveled off in the last few days.