County and local representatives celebrated Dec. 9 the groundbreaking of the $15.8 million Hamilton Pool Road widening project located in Bee Cave.

Construction is expected to begin in January and will take about two years to complete, according to TxDOT.

The project will improve mobility, traffic congestion and safety along the 6.3-mile stretch from RR 12 to Hwy. 71. Improvements include adding a continuous center turn lane, dedicated turning lanes, new travel lanes in each direction and shoulders on both sides of the road for emergency use.

Work will be performed on one side of the roadway at a time from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., during which residents can expect lane closures with detour signage, flaggers and pilot vehicles to direct traffic in the area, the press release said. Construction will attempt to limit noise and light by using ambient backup alarms on machinery, and directing lights away from nearby properties and traffic, among other techniques, according to TxDOT.

“Recognizing the growth made this project very, very necessary,” TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson said. “We appreciate the support of the locals on this project in looking to enhance this roadway section to address the growth and development in our region.”

When former Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty began work in 2002, he said he did not anticipate the amount of growth the area would see. Since then, improvements in technology allowed jobs to move away from Austin and in turn increased traffic in the area. The opening of shopping areas, such as the Hill Country Galleria, have also increased incoming traffic flow in the past two decades, he said. Traffic volume is expected to increase more than 38% in 20 years on Hamilton Pool Road, increasing from 19,550 vehicles daily in 2022 to 31,850 by 2042, according to TxDOT.

“It became so clear to me that Hamilton Pool Road was going to have to get put on the drawing board,” Daugherty said. “From a safety standpoint, it is something that is going to be so, so beneficial.”