As the February deadline nears for the city of Lakeway to decide on projects for which to seek funding through its ongoing transportation study via a May 2020 bond, officials are narrowing their focus on which to pursue.

Led by Chair Judy Donohue, the Lakeway Transportation Steering Committee made a series of recommendations for projects that would expand or improve roads throughout the city.

Donohue addressed council during the Dec. 16 meeting and delivered recommendations made with the cooperation of engineering firm Huitt-Zollars, with whom the city contracted to help oversee the study, for projects in pursuit of a bond.

“We knew our task was to help citizens navigate the city of Lakeway,” Donohue said, adding that charge applied to current and future versions of the city.

The committee in its recommendations attempted to maximize traffic flow through the city while at the same time keeping Lakeway from becoming a pass-through city, Donohue said.

Among the top projects recommended are an expansion of Main Street from RM 620 to Lohman’s Crossing at $8.2 million, an extension of Farris Drive from Gebron Drive to Meadowlark Drive at $2.1 million, an extension of Clara Van Street to Meadowlark Drive at $3 million, and an extension of Lohmans Spur out to Main Street at $3.3 million.

All costs presented are so far just estimates, according to the committee, which also recommended road improvements, additional sidewalk gaps and a north to south running shared-use path.

All tallied, construction cost estimates for the top seven recommended projects stand at $35.6 million, but Mayor Sandy Cox said it is too soon to aggregate the current top projects and assume that is some sort of approximation of what the city might spend.

The committee also recommended not pursuing an improvement of Serene Hills Drive at $15 million, an extension of Flint Rock Road to Bee Creek Road at $25.5 million and connection of Clubhouse Drive to Clara Van Street at $1.6 million.

Huitt-Zollars Vice President Brian Everett said the projects were judged by a variety of factors and ranked according to their ultimate benefit to the city.

"Part of the decision matrix involved what the community support was, as well as safety," Cox said, adding projects that were not recommended would have been too costly and were not supported enough by resident feedback.

Everett said a full report of the projects will be forthcoming to the city soon, but the Main Street project remains the highest-ranked priority for the city based on the criteria for the study.

Of note during discussion of the study, and in a strategically concise procedural move, Cox asked how many people were against two specific projects: an extension of Clubhouse Drive to Clara Van Street and an extension of Guyan Drive.

Of the roughly 20 people who had signed up to speak, the majority said they were against those two projects.

Cox said the city has at this point rejected both projects and requested each resident simply state their position at the podium—a move that likely shaved nearly an hour or more from the discussion time given the city-sanctioned three-minute time allotment per speaker.

Regarding a timeline for next steps, Cox said the last possible time the city can call a bond election for May is Feb. 14.

Council Member Gretchen Vance said the committee will not meet again, and the council will now work to narrow the scope of projects and figure out the financial impact in terms of what will be included in the May bond proposal.

Council will likely conduct a special work session to become more familiar with the latest data package from Huitt-Zollars prior to the regular Jan. 20 City Council meeting, Vance said.