TxDOT holds final open house, hearing on lower RM 620 widening

Attendees ask questions at the Feb. 20 TxDOT open house on the RM 620 widening project. (Photos by Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Attendees ask questions at the Feb. 20 TxDOT open house on the RM 620 widening project. (Photos by Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Attendees ask questions at the Feb. 20 TxDOT open house on the RM 620 widening project. (Photos by Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
At least 200 people attended the Feb. 20 open house on the RM 620 widening.
Though funding is not fully secured for the roughly 9-mile stretch of RM 620 from Hwy. 71 to Hudson Bend Road slated to be widened in the coming years, project leaders are now more confident about key aspects of the project as it heads into the environmental finding phase.

Following two open house events dating back to 2018, the $60 million widening project being carried out by the Texas Department of Transportation has begun the final steps of public outreach with a Feb. 20 open house and public hearing at Lake Travis High School.

At least 200 people showed up to the Thursday night event to get their questions answered and see a presentation from TxDOT headed by Public Information Officer Christopher Bishop. Presenters discussed the project design, environmental findings, and right-of-way acquisition and relocation assistance.

"What we're presenting is what will be our final plan going into this project," said Bradley Wheelis, another public information officer for TxDOT. "Now, that plan can be tweaked, but this is pretty much what folks can expect to see on RM 620 once we go to construction in late 2022."

If any comments stand out as something TxDOT has not heard before, project staff will go back and see if any last-minute changes are needed, but Wheelis said even if that does happen there is room built into the timeline to accommodate that.

During the presentation, Bishop said TxDOT will need to acquire about 34 acres of right of way to complete the project but said at this time no displacement of businesses or residents is foreseen. Wheelis added that process is already underway but not complete.

As of now, the project is funded at $60 million for construction from the stretch of RM 620 beginning at Hwy. 71 and ending at Oak Grove Blvd. That funding comes from TxDOT by way of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. To fund the project fully up to Hudson Bend Road, TxDOT needs to acquire another $15 million, according to Wheelis.

The major features of the project from the last couple of open house events remain the same: widening the existing four-lane road to a divided six-lane road, adding raised medians and installing continuous bicycle and pedestrian paths along both sides of the road.

Should construction begin on time at the end of 2022, Wheelis said the portion starting at Hwy. 71 and going up to Oak Grove Blvd. will likely be complete by late 2025 or early 2026.

Next steps

TxDOT will receive public and agency comments until March, consider public and agency comments and make any adjustments if needed, and complete and submit final environmental assessment to the TxDOT Environmental Affairs Division.

To submit comments online until the March 6 deadline and for much more information on the project, click here and enter "RM 620 South" in the search area.
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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