Roberta Carnes, a resident of retirement community Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch, said she chose to spend an evening at a local community-wide meeting focused on transportation to hopefully hear a proposed solution to the region’s congestion.
“We have a terrible traffic problem on [RR] 620 and [RR] 2222,” she said. “Being retired, we can bend our day to [avoid] traffic. But for those who have regular work hours, they must spend a lot of their life in the car.”
Hosted by the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association, the Jan. 25 event drew a full house at the cafeteria of Canyon Ridge Middle School, located off Quinlan Park Road.
Bruce Byron, project manager with Texas Department of Transportation, and David Greear, Travis County engineering division manager, provided the status of several projects that are completed, underway or proposed for the area. The roadway changes Greear said were planned for Steiner Ranch (see Project 2) are funded and include a traffic signal to be added at the intersection of RR 620 and Steiner Ranch Boulevard; a flashing pedestrian beacon added at the intersection of Quinlan Park Road and Canyon Glen Drive; and an asphalt overlay on Steiner Ranch Boulevard.
RR 620/RR 2222 projects
The remaining proposed projects, governed by TxDOT, include adding lanes and a concrete median on RR 620 for portions of the roadway from West Hwy. 71 to US 183 (see Project 1); adding a bypass on RR 620 to connect to RR 2222 (see Project 3); adding a lane on RR 620 heading east from Steiner Ranch Boulevard to the bypass (see Project 3); adding lanes on RR 2222 from the bypass to McNeil Drive (see Project 3); and improving the intersection at RR 2222 and River Place Boulevard (see Project 3), Byron said.
A long-term scenario (see Project 1) includes adding four more lanes—either elevated or at ground level—to RR 620 from RR 2222 to US 183, he said.
“The new bypass will basically take traffic off [RR] 620 and intersect onto [RR] 2222, about where [Heritage Body & Frame, 11111 RR 2222, Austin] is, where the transmission lines go across,” Byron said. “This will reduce traffic congestion significantly at that intersection.”
Some lawmakers and county officials are in favor of proposed projects to alleviate the area's traffic congestion.
“My personal responsibility is to make sure western Travis County gets the money it needs to make the improvements on [RR] 620,
[RR] 2222, Loop 360, the 'Y' at Oak Hill, [US] 290, SH 45,” said state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin. “We have been working on this issue for several sessions, and we will continue to do that.”
Travis County Precinct 2 Commissioner Brigid Shea said her precinct budget allocated some of the funding for the traffic signal to be constructed at the intersection of Steiner Ranch Boulevard and RR 620.
“The signal will hopefully improve getting in and out [of Steiner Ranch],” Shea said. “We also pushed to get the pedestrian crossing for the school.”
Shea is on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board. Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion recently assumed the CAMPO board position formerly held by Lakeway Mayor Joe Bain.
CAMPO controls the timing and some allocation of funds for projects in the region, including funding for construction of the bypass, Shea said.
“Twice now, [the bypass] has been taken out of the CAMPO budget and out of the CAMPO sequencing, scheduling and planning,” she said. “In both instances, I have not gotten good explanations for it.”
Shea said she had a follow-up meeting with TxDOT district engineer Terry McCoy, who committed to get the funding for the bypass project but did not have a specific timetable. She said nine intersection projects on Loop 360 received funding; however, RR 620 projects have not yet been funded.
“In addition to the city of Austin’s $7.5 million [in 2016 bond funds to be dedicated to projects in the RR 620 at RR 2222 corridor], our Austin district engineer is very confident the remaining funding will be in place when needed and is working vigorously to ensure that,” TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna said.