Rashed Islam, Texas Department of Transportation consultant, presented a concept plan Aug. 14 for improvements to RR 620 in western Travis County—including adding a six-lane section from north of Lakeway Blvd. to Hwy. 71 and a median from the Colorado River to Hwy. 71.
The plan was presented by Islam, vice president of engineering firm HDR Inc., during the mid-August stakeholder committee meeting at Bee Cave City Hall. The meeting also included comments from TxDOT Project Manager Bruce Byron and TxDOT Area Engineer Victor Vargas.
Between 2010 and 2015, Islam said 296 crashes occurred in the proposed four-lane section, and 624 crashes occurred in the proposed six-lane section.
Much of the proposal was generated by the amount of accidents on RR 620 as well as congestion on the roadway, he said. The proposal adds a median and eliminates the center turn lane, he said.
He said he reviewed the stretch of RR 620 from the Colorado River to Hwy. 71, comparing the existing conditions of the roadway’s intersections at peak morning and evening travel times to what the conditions would be in 2035 if no improvements were made.
Islam said proposed intersection improvements include adding a southbound left-turn lane, northbound right-turn lane and eastbound right-turn lanes at RR 620 and Cavalier/Aria Drive; adding an eastbound right-turn lane, northbound left-turn lane and northbound and southbound right-turn lanes at RR 620 and Lohmans Crossing Road; adding a northbound left-turn lane at RR 620 and Lakeway Boulevard; and adding exclusive dual westbound right-turn lanes and dual eastbound left-turn lanes at Bee Cave Parkway and RR 620.
The proposed intersection improvements total about $49 million without including costs for purchasing right-of-way, relocating utilities and drainage, Islam said. The cost for the proposed intersection improvements between the Mansfield Dam and Lakeway Boulevard is about $18 million, and the cost for proposed intersection improvements between Lakeway Boulevard and Hwy. 71 is about $31 million, he said.
“The devil is in the details and that comes in the next phase of the study,” Byron said.
The initial cost estimate could climb dramatically once the department reviews the details of the design, he said.
Lakeway Mayor Joe Bain said the median in the proposed plan is likely to receive some opposition from city residents because it will affect local businesses located along the roadway.
Although Islam said none of the proposed improvements to RR 620 are funded, Byron said having a set of plans “on the shelf and ready to build helps push that plan ahead when money becomes available.”
Byron said the next step will be to solicit comments from Lakeway and Bee Cave, determine better cost estimates and have a meeting between the two cities’ representatives to discuss the process.
“TxDOT is working on a plan to determine the need and feasibility for proposed improvements to serve existing and future growth along RM 620,” TxDOT PUblic Information officer Kelli Reyna said. “Our study consultant shared some draft cross sections in an effort to help the Stakeholder Working Group study how a center median could be most successfully implemented in this area so as to reduce the number of crashes and regional disruptions of traffic due to incident-related lane closures.”