Lake Travis ISD is continuing progress on the Vail Divide southern extension project, discussing a potential contract with Malone Wheeler for engineering services.

Travis County and LTISD entered into an interlocal agreement Jan. 15 on the Vail Divide Southern Extension project, which includes the construction of a roadway and bridge between Hamilton Pool Road and Hwy. 71 to relieve traffic congestion. Per the terms of the agreement, LTISD’s cost will not exceed $2.5 million.

The roadway project will provide additional access to LTISD’s Bee Cave Middle School, and per the terms of the agreement, the district will be responsible for the management and development of the project.

According to information from the district, Malone Wheeler’s services will require funding of approximately $1,136,5000. The board discussed the contract’s first draft and will take action at the March 25 board meeting.

Travis County and LTISD both agreed that Malone Wheller was the most qualified firm that presented the best value, according to Amber King, the district’s general counsel.

The engineering phase of the extension project could take approximately one year, according to Johnny Hill, assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services. Hill said this is due to the environmental aspects of the project’s drawing and planning process which involves Little Barton Creek.

Superintendent Brad Lancaster stated that potential involvement with the Texas Department of Transportation could lead to a significant cost decrease for the district. TxDOT will be examining the culvert along Little Barton Creek within the department’s repairs on Hamilton Pool Road.

The culvert repairs could result in LTISD constructing a shorter bridge across the creek, Lancaster said, adding that TxDOT’s involvement could result in a $1 million cost decrease for LTISD.

However, Lancaster noted that TxDOT’s work will result in a construction delay from October to January.