Here's how $12 million in bond funds will be spent to alleviate Pflugerville traffic

Traffic backs up daily during the afternoon rush hour along East Pecan Street, an east-west road through the middle of the city.

Traffic backs up daily during the afternoon rush hour along East Pecan Street, an east-west road through the middle of the city.

A city-distributed survey earlier this year pointed to Pflugerville’s traffic woes as the No. 1 complaint from residents. Officials have responded by making roads a major focus of the growing city, which will soon top 60,000 in population estimates.

Voters have previously backed their complaints with bond approvals for transportation projects, first for $28 million in 2014 and then another $9 million in 2015. While a steady stream of construction projects has taken place in the years since, officials say road construction has never reached the level it will this year and next year.

More than $12 million in bond funds will be spent in the coming months on several projects.

“[Road construction] is important with the growth on the east side of town,” Assistant City Manager Tom Word said. Word said projects on the list cover all parts of the city.

Major developments throughout town, including Living Spaces under construction at Heatherwilde Boulevard and SH 45, Costco coming to SH 130 and Kelly Lane, and a mixed-use development under construction at SH 130 and East Pecan, all have impacts on traffic, officials said.

Pflugerville Parkway at SH 130 will be widened to two lanes in each direction, and traffic signals will be installed with the goal of easing increased congestion.

In partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, the Pflugerville Parkway projects will take nine months, and start of construction will be later this year.

Heatherwilde’s widening is expected to allow for better traffic flow once Living Spaces is open, but the project will also stress the importance of completing the SH 45 N service drive construction.

“In the case of the frontage road on [SH 45 N], we are working with Round Rock to get that completed,” Word said.

Word said the bond programs also address local streets.

“We have a series of local street projects in older subdivisions we annexed a few years ago,” Word said.
“The Heatherwilde and Windermere subdivision streets will need to be reconstructed.

“We will bid that out in January, and it will take about a year to do the work.”

Word said there are several hundred homes in those subdivisions that will be affected, but crews will work on one side of the street at a time to minimize the inconvenience.

“Still, it’s not easy for our residents, and we understand that,” Word said. “There will be new curbs and gutters, along with some storm sewer work there.”

In all, there are nearly two dozen Pflugerville streets and roads scheduled to receive significant work in the next year.

The survey says …


Pflugerville residents, 573 of which submitted a completed survey earlier this year, gave mostly positive marks to the condition of streets and traffic signals in the community, with 83 percent saying they were at least satisfied.

Among the complaints, the highest number of respondents indicated traffic management as well as road widening and improvements were most important aspects for the city to invest in.

Improving some of the east-west streets, such as reconstruction of Pfennig Lane between Railroad and FM 685, will help level out some traffic, Word said.

Pflugerville conducted resident surveys in 2012, 2015 and 2017. In each survey, flow of traffic and congestion on city streets were the top issue residents wanted to see leaders address in the next two years.

Maintenance of streets received high marks from residents, with 70 percent saying they are satisfied with the upkeep of major streets in Pflugerville and 71 percent satisfied with neighborhood streets.

Word and City Manager Brandon Wade both said the city will focus on maintenance, which Word said could have prevented problems on Grand Avenue Parkway that will be addressed later this year.

“Sections of the road have failed and some rutting has occurred,” Word said. “Over time, because of the busy nature of the roadway and a lot of trucks, it happens.

“But it will be our goal to implement a more substantial maintenance program to address some of these issues early on.”

Projections of 250,000 people


A proposal is in the next fiscal year budget, which begins Oct. 1, to update the city’s transportation plan, Wade said.

It has been eight years since the city revamped its transportation plan. Assistant City Manager Trey Fletcher said every five to seven years is desirable for updates, especially when there is the growth Pflugerville is experiencing.

“There are a lot of projects moving forward and we hope to mitigate as many traffic issues as possible,” Wade said. “Our population projections are 250,000 to 275,000 and we have the room to grow. It will happen sooner rather than later, maybe the next 30 years instead of 50. We don’t have the environmental constraints as Austin. There’s a lot of room for growth, and we will see more freeways and roads on the east side of town. It’s much easier to develop there than in other areas.”

Word said major roads and highways will cut through what is now farmland on Pflugerville’s east side.

“The needs of the city are changing, and we will continue to work on traffic issues through our growth.”

Engineering leads the way


Word, who came to Pflugerville 5 1/2 years ago, spent 15 years with the city of Round Rock and 21 years with the Texas Department of Transportation.

His experience with the rapid growth of Round Rock has paid off for Pflugerville as it goes through similar growing pains.

“Pflugerville is very, very similar to Round Rock,” Word said. “It’s a very fast-growing community, and there are a lot of the same challenges. Hutto will go through a lot of the same issues we have. We talk and work with all of the cities around us.”

Word said the team of seven engineers the city of Pflugerville has is poised for the growth.

“We are working on projects that will last for years and years and we have a really good team of dedicated employees who manage and plan the future of this city. [The engineering department is] extremely busy, and they’ll be involved in shaping the future of this community.”

In July, city officials announced that Word will retire by the end of 2017.

Wade said he hopes to keep some of Word’s expertise working for the city of Pflugerville by contracting him as a consultant.

“It would help to have him work on some of our future road and infrastructure projects,” Wade said.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and 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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