TxDOT holds second major open house on multimillion-dollar RM 620 widening project

Attendees at the June 26 open house at Bee Cave City Hall reviewed proposed improvements and provided input on the RM 620 widening project.

Attendees at the June 26 open house at Bee Cave City Hall reviewed proposed improvements and provided input on the RM 620 widening project.

Construction for one of the largest transportation projects in western Travis County—the widening of RM 620 from Bee Cave to Hudson Bend—is likely to begin at the end of 2022. But right now, project leaders are still seeking input from stakeholders.

The Texas Department of Transportation held an open house June 26 at Bee Cave City Hall in the Hill Country Galleria, which was similar to an open house held at the Lakeway Activity Center in October.

Attendees at the June 26 open house reviewed proposed improvements and provided input on facets of the project, such as right of way needs and access to adjacent properties during construction.

“Proposed improvements include widening the existing four-lane divided rural roadway to a six-lane divided urban roadway with one additional travel lane in each direction, adding raised medians and adding a continuous bicycle/pedestrian shared-use path along the corridor,” a release issued prior to the open house stated.

TxDOT Public Information Officer Bradley Wheelis said the estimated construction cost of the entire project is $70 million from its southern most starting point at Hwy. 71 in Bee Cave up to the end at Hudson Bend Road. Information from TxDOT states that right now, $60 million of the project is funded, taking it up to Oak Grove Blvd., a few miles north of Lakeway.

More than a hundred people shuffled in and out of Bee Cave City Hall chambers during the two-hour open house, many of whom would be directly affected by the project.

Thomas Decicco, co-owner of the Lakeway Town Center in Lakeway that runs along RM 620, attended the open house and said he is concerned about construction encroaching on his property and the effects that might have on his tenants.

Decicco said he is starting to form a plan to diminish any negative outcomes.

"You work with [TxDOT] through the process to mitigate the damage to your tenants as best you can," Decicco said. "That's the goal. Try not to lose access. Try not to lose parking and landscape areas."

Wheelis said TxDOT right of way estimates are not yet figured into the cost of the project, and department officials will know more about need and cost for rights of way as the project moves forward.

"There will be a significant amount of right of way that we will need to purchase up and down the project corridor," Wheelis said. "You have some businesses that are fairly close to [RM 620], and we try to minimize those impacts."

More specifically, information from TxDOT states the proposed project would require the use of right of way from the 50-acre Bee Cave Central Park, located along Bee Cave Parkway west of RM 620.

"There is a small section of pathway within the park boundaries that would be impacted by the proposed [right of way]," according to a TxDOT fact sheet. "The proposed project would replace the impacted pathway with an 8-foot wide shared-use path, which would connect to the existing pathway. Due to the minor impacts that would occur at the park resulting from the proposed project, TxDOT intends to pursue a de minimis finding, which means that no adverse effects to the park would occur."

A matrix on TxDOT's website shows 33 attendees at the Oct. 10 open house commented on the project. Those comments combined with input from the June 26 meeting will help TxDOT officials as they move forward with a plan to enhance project safety and prepare for future growth.

"We take those comments, and if someone has a suggestion for a turn lane, or a shared-use path, or asks why we can't narrow it down to keep it at two lanes [at one point] and move it to three lanes [at another point]—all of those comments, we take into account, and we look at it from a safety standpoint and a mobility standpoint," Wheelis said. "Our goal is to improve the through traffic on RM 620. We want people to participate, and we want them to know that it does make a difference."

The window for people to provide input on the project ends July 11, Wheelis said, adding anyone wanting to comment may do so through a number of channels, including typing in the search phrase “RM 620 South” after clicking here.
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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