Developers have called the intersection of Crystal Falls Parkway and US 183 the epicenter of Leander, and in October the third installment of construction—dubbed Phase 2B—will round out nearly a half-decade of road improvement projects.

City Engineer Wayne Watts said the city must work with Capital Metro and the Texas Department of Transportation to finish the road improvements —which include rebuilding curbs, drainage systems and adding dedicated turn lanes—because the road segment contains a railroad crossing.

"That's a complicated area as far as the rules and regulations, safety design, signal timing and other issues," he said. "Because we are working in other entities' right of way that have significant control and rights, we have to play by their rules."

When the city gets approval from Capital Metro, Watts said the lowest-bidding contractor will execute the project, using subcontracted specialists to complete work on the railroad crossing.

"We considered making it three phases, to go from Leander Drive to the railroad right of way, and maybe while we are in the process of that, we can get the CapMetro right of way," he said. "It may be that we have to shut that intersection down for a period of time and detour traffic to FM 2243."

However, Watts said based on input from City Council, staff will wait until it gets final approval from Capital Metro and TxDOT to start construction this fall.

"Council expressed they'd rather do it as a single project and wait a little longer," he said.

Crystal Falls Parkway improvement phases

Phase 1

  • Ronald Reagan Boulevard to Toll 183A
  • Started: February 2009, now complete
  • Cost: $3.5 million

Phase 2A

  • Toll 183A to Leander Drive
  • Started: May 2010, now complete
  • Cost: $3.1 million

Phase 2B

  • Leander Drive to US 183
  • Started: expected to begin October 2012, six-month construction period
  • Cost: $1.25 million

Source: City of Leander