9 ongoing transportation projects you should know about before taking to the road


Transportation Updates Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto July 2017


1.The project in Round Rock will provide enhancements to 2.3 miles of I-35 from SH 45 N to Hwy. 79. Work includes the reconstruction of northbound and southbound frontage road intersections at I-35 and Hwy. 79, the addition of a third left-turn lane from westbound Hwy. 79 to southbound I-35, and the construction of braided ramps on northbound I-35 between Hesters Crossing Road and RM 620 in an effort to relieve bottleneck issues.
Timeline: July 2016-early 2019


2. Williamson County is extending Arterial H to Sam Bass Road, including the design of four lanes for Arterial H.
Timeline: June 2016-fall 2017


3. RM 620 widening
The 2.74-mile segment of roadway in Round Rock will be widened from four to six lanes and will include new curbs and gutters and a raised median. The segment will include construction of left- and right-turn lanes, culverts, water-quality facilities, retaining walls and the construction of a sidewalk on the north side of RM 620.

Status: The right-turn lane on eastbound RM 620 from Cornerwood Drive to Deep Wood Drive closed June 22 for four to six weeks. The lane is expected to be reopened in August.
Timeline: January 2017-spring 2018
Cost: $6 million
Funding sources: Williamson County, Texas Department of Transportation

Transportation Updates Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto July 20174. East Pecan Street construction
East Pecan Street from east of SH 130 to Weiss Lane is being reconstructed into a four-lane roadway with curbs, gutters and a sidewalk, and roadway rehabilitation will occur from Weiss to Cameron Road. The project is two lanes in each direction with selected median openings.

Status: Work continues east of Weiss to rehabilitate the roadway. Most work is completed  between Weiss Lane and SH 130. Temporary shifts in traffic occur during daytime hours near Weiss.
Timeline: September 2016-July  2017
Cost: $1.8 million
Funding sources: city of Pflugerville

Transportation Updates Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto July 20175. Weiss Lane improvements
The project will replace all bridges on Weiss Lane from East Pecan Street to Cele Road starting with the one-lane bridge near East Pecan. It will expand the road from two lanes to four, adding turn lanes and shoulders as well as improve drainage with storm drain facilities and curbs and gutters.

Timeline: March 2017-fall 2018
Cost: $6.7 million
Funding sources: city of Pflugerville

Transportation Updates Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto July 20176. Sun Light Near Way expansion
The Sun Light Near Way portion of the Helios Way project includes expanding and reconstructing the two-lane roadway from East Pecan to Helios Way. The roadway is classified as a collector and will consist of one lane in each direction with a two-way central turn lane and designated turn lanes at the Helios intersection.

Status: The road is closed to traffic, all of the former roadway is removed and the area is being prepared for
Timeline: May-August
Cost: TBD
Funding sources: Travis County, city of Pflugerville

  7. I-35 at FM 3406/Old Settlers Boulevard improvements
The project will replace and widen the Old Settlers Boulevard bridge, construct two new U-turn bridges—one in each direction—and make bicycle and pedestrian enhancements. The project is designed to reduce bottlenecks and improve travel times at the I-35 and Old Settlers intersection in Round Rock.

Status: Grading and bridge work is scheduled to begin in August. The contractor has requested a shift in westbound traffic at I-35, which may extend the loss of eastbound traffic movement. The contractor said by doing the entire bridge project at once, it would go from a 12-month bridge reconstruction to an eight-month construction timeline.
Timeline: March 2017-spring 2019
Cost: $12.4 million
Funding sources: TxDOT

8. CR 110 South improvements
The project includes improvements to approximately 2.2 miles of CR 110 between Hwy. 79 and Limmer Loop. It will upgrade the existing two-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway, which is half of an ultimate six-lane roadway.

Status: Utility work and clearing for the extra lane is underway.
Timeline: March 2017-September 2018
Cost: $27 million
Funding sources: Williamson County

9. Helios Way West extension
The Helios Way West extension consists of the extension of Helios west of Sun Light Near Way with a connection to East Pecan Street. The roadway will provide two lanes in each direction with selected median openings as designed.

Status: The road is constructed and being used as a detour for construction on Sun Light Near, which is closed. The right lane of eastbound East Pecan west of Impact Way is closed during the construction of Sun Light Near.
Timeline: November-August
Cost: TBD
Funding sources: Travis County, city of Pflugerville


Who builds roads around new developments?

As rapid development continues around the state, the Texas Department of Transportation and local entities create public-private partnerships to build roads around new developments.

Developers often approach TxDOT about building roadways that connect to their businesses or improving nearby traffic lights, TxDOT spokesperson Danny Perez said. If the project also improves traffic flow, the two entities enter an agreement with the developer contributing a portion or all of the costs of the project.

Perez said developers have funded a number of transportation projects—even a $2 million ramp reversal on I-45 in Galveston County two years ago. 

Developers can also build roads themselves. The company would need to submit its plan to TxDOT—or whichever entity owns the roadway it would connect to—for approval. The developer would retain the right of way in this case.

After the road is built, the developer has the option to return the right of way to TxDOT or another entity for long-term maintenance of the road.

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Joe Warner
Joe Warner is managing editor of the nine Austin-Central Texas editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.
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