Progress continues to extend Vail Divide south and reduce traffic congestion at Hamilton Pool Road and Hwy. 71.

On Dec. 15, the Lake Travis ISD board awarded a $6.6 million bid to general contractor Austin Engineering to complete the project. The next step will build a bridge connecting from the end of Vail Divide to the existing roadway over Little Barton Creek to provide additional access to LTISD’s Bee Cave Middle School, according to district documents.

Part of the project previously straightened Vail Divide to enter the middle school’s campus and realigned the roadway to create a new intersection called Los Flores.

“All of the contractors that submitted on the project were very highly qualified, so it came down to cost and evaluation,” said Robert Winovitch, director of facilities and construction for LTISD. “We’re very much looking forward to getting the project done.”

The project is estimated to take about a year with work beginning in January following the completion of the contract and coordination with Travis County and the Texas Department of Transportation, he said. The bid will be paid for out of the Vail Divide Capital Projects fund.

LTISD requested competitive proposals for the project from Sept. 3-Nov. 30, during which the district received five submissions, district documents said. Of the proposals, Austin Engineering scored the highest percentage in terms of price and technical information included, earning 100%.

The evaluation team for the proposals included four district employees, three employees from the facilities and construction department, one employee from the business office and a representative from the engineering firm Malone Wheeler, according to district documents.

LTISD allocated $1.2 million from the Vail Divide Capital Projects fund for a contract with Malone Wheeler in March 2020 to develop engineering designs, plans and specifications for the roadway improvements, according to district documents.