Pool of major transportation projects in Lakeway narrowing ahead of May 2020 bond proposal

Huitt-Zollars Vice President Brian Everett (left) and committee Chair Judy Donohue address City Council on Jan. 13. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Huitt-Zollars Vice President Brian Everett (left) and committee Chair Judy Donohue address City Council on Jan. 13. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Huitt-Zollars Vice President Brian Everett (left) and committee Chair Judy Donohue address City Council on Jan. 13. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Since July, Lakeway officials, members of a special subcommittee and representatives of engineering firm Huitt-Zollars have been working on a plan to relieve congestion and diminish travel times within city limits—the main goal being to select high-priority road and infrastructure projects to be included in a bond request in time for a May election.

During a Lakeway City Council special meeting Jan. 13, the Lakeway Transportation Steering Committee updated officials on where the study stands one month before the Feb. 14 deadline to submit a bond request.

Committee Chair Judy Donohue talked council through the top recommended projects and their estimated costs during the afternoon meeting. The steering committee utilized resident input as well as cost benefit and traffic volume estimates to help determine priority rankings for each project.

Since there has not been a committee meeting since a December update to City Council, the Jan. 13 breakdown served as a deeper dive into recommended projects and why they were rated with priority.

Among the top recommended projects are an extension of Main Street at an estimated cost of $5.55 million, an extension of Medical Drive at $2.28 million and an extension of Farris Drive at $2.1 million.

Huitt-Zollars Vice President Brian Everett broke down how his firm and the steering committee decided on projects for the bond proposal.

Travel time, safety, estimated trips and cost benefits were factored into consideration for each project, Everett said.

“The thing the steering committee wanted to focus on was time savings ... for particular projects,” Everett said, adding traffic analyses were also conducted for consideration of projects.

Donohue said because this endeavor will require community buy in, figuratively and literally, cost has also become one of the most important factors in assessing projects.

Mayor Sandy Cox said two of the recommended projects could likely be phased and completed more slowly than the others. Those are the north and south shared-use paths at a preliminary cost of $8.98 million and the filling in of additional sidewalk gaps within Lakeway at a preliminary cost of $8.07 million.

Cox also pointed out that some of the recommended projects would be completed by developers and not the city of Lakeway.

Regarding improving Serene Hills Drive, Everett said that was not included in the list of recommendations because he believed that project could potentially add traffic to the area, and Donohue added it would be too costly to pursue.

The final report should be in to City Council by the end of the week, Everett said, and Cox said council's next meeting on the transportation study Jan. 20 will more specifically cover costs for each recommended project.
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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