Two road projects starting early next year could change the face of northwest Leander.
On Oct. 15, Leander City Council is expected to approve a bid for an estimated $24 million project to widen Old FM 2243 from just west of North Lakeline Boulevard to US 183.
The project along Old FM 2243 would expand the road from two lanes to four lanes with a center turn lane. City Engineer Wayne Watts said construction would include conversion of drainage ditches into storm sewers as well as relocating electric lines, traffic signals and sidewalks.
Another project, also pending council approval, would cost an estimated $13 million and would widen Bagdad Road between Old FM 2243 and CR 280. However, the Bagdad project would not be bid upon until late 2015 or early 2016, Watts said, and weather could delay both projects.
Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis said the Old FM 2243 project represents a unique construction challenge.
“We’re in a small, tight corridor, trying to get a lot of lanes of traffic in there, and we have a ton of utilities and a major overhead electric transmission line [to deal with],” Yantis said. “We have a bunch of existing businesses and now existing residences [and] new residential projects that we’ve got to keep access to throughout the whole project.”
Business growth on Old FM 2243 has made the road more hazardous, especially for turning vehicles, he said. The project is meant to improve highway safety, Yantis said.
By contrast, Bagdad has fewer nearby businesses, and the city’s widening project anticipates future growth on the road, he said.
“We have a major traffic generator getting ready to be finished at the end of next year, which is the new Tom Glenn High School,” Yantis said.
New residential development is also expected along Old FM 2243 and Bagdad, he said.
“All those factors together made those two arterials our highest priority,” Yantis said.