Williamson County moves forward with transportation plan

A diverging diamond interchange opened in Round Rock in November after a year of construction work at the intersection of I-35 and University Boulevard. A diverging diamond interchange opened in Round Rock in November after a year of construction work at the intersection of I-35 and University Boulevard.[/caption]

The roadways in Williamson County will someday be built to capacity. County officials presented Cedar Park residents with an idea of what that could look like last night.

"The only question is when, not if,” said Bob Daigh, the senior director of infrastructure with Williamson County. “When that occurs, [we need to know] what our freeway system needs to look like to address the citizens that will be here so we can enjoy the quality of life that we have now. “

Daigh and Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long presented the Cedar Park City Council with an update on the Williamson County Long Range Transportation plan. County officials have been working on the plan for more than a year to determine how to coordinate connectivity and mobility throughout the region and keep up with the increase in residents and vehicles.

The county is preparing for certain roadways to become controlled access facilities, which are roadways that have frontage roads and main lanes, such as freeways like US 183 and I-35, Daigh said. The commissioners court approved the controlled access map in October 2015, which shows RM 1431 eventually becoming a controlled access facility and running all the way to I-35.

Williamson County commissioners approved the controlled access facilities map for the county in October 2015. Williamson County commissioners approved the controlled access facilities map for the county in October 2015.[/caption]

Daigh said one of the county's goals was to avoid becoming an area where drivers largely have to access freeways to get around. County staff also planned a map of arterial roads, or six-lane roadways that have dual left-and right-turn lanes at intersections, to support the larger controlled access roadways. Daigh said the court approved the arterial map in the spring.

Williamson County commissioners approved the arterial facilities map for the county in the spring. Williamson County commissioners approved the arterial facilities map for the county in the spring.[/caption]

Daigh said last week the commissioners voted to move forward with five different roadway corridor projects throughout the county, which can be seen on the map below in gold. He said the projects could go out for bid in about two weeks. Connie Watson, Williamson County’s public affairs manager, said moving forward with the roadways could mean more planning and possible right of way work.

Williamson County commissioners approved the corridor map for the county last week. Williamson County commissioners approved the corridor map for the county last week.[/caption]

Daigh said the county's goal now is to inform citizens about the plan and work together with cities on corridor projects.

“The goal is to tell the citizens of Williamson County whose land falls under these lines where the right of way is," he said. "Because if you are a property owner and you’ve got a line on the property, [the cities and county] really need to be able to tell them as quickly as possible exactly where the right of way will be so that they can make informed decisions about what they can and should do with their property."
By Caitlin Perrone
Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.


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