Pflugerville and Hutto propose bonds to fund various improvements


Pflugerville and Hutto residents will vote in November on a collection of bond proposals designed to fund improvement projects across their respective cities.

For Pflugerville residents, the proposed $21.1 million bond focuses solely on roadway projects as city officials try to get ahead of traffic congestion woes on the east side of town.

Hutto’s bond proposals totalling $125 million address public safety facilities, parks improvements and infrastructure needs.

Plugerville’s transportation bond

Pflugerville residents will see just one bond proposal from the city this November.

The proposition lists four roadway projects—Colorado Sand Drive, Kelly Lane, Old Austin-Hutto Road and East Pflugerville Parkway—that collectively account for $21.1 million in bond funds.

The Colorado Sand Drive and Kelly Lane improvement projects will turn portions of both roads into four-lane urban roadways with divided portions. Construction at Colorado Sand Drive will attach two portions of the disconnected roadway.

The proposed Kelly Lane project will widen the portion of the road between Falcon Pointe Drive and Moorlynch Avenue. Per city documents, the project would ease traffic congestion along the roadway. In recent months, several residents at City Council meetings have criticized traffic congestion planning after the Costco development opened in July.

If the bond passes, the city will begin work to extend Pflugerville Parkway to Jesse Bohls Drive sometime in 2022, creating a continuous roadway.

The bond funds will also go to repair and widen Old Austin-Hutto Road from Pecan Street to FM 685. City plans show the road will be widened into a three-lane road and “address the existing poor pavement condition.” The project will allow for a future extension off the road that is not included in designs for the bonds.

“[Old Austin-Hutto Road] was identified in our pavement management study … as a street that was in poor condition,” said Amy Giannini, city engineer for Pflugerville.

City Council elected to include all of the roadway projects into one proposal in order to afford the city fiscal flexibility. Giannini said the move allows the city to legally move funds from one project to the other.

The $21.1 million in bond funds is a fraction of the $400 million collection of projects that City Council discussed in May. At that time dozens of capital improvement projects were listed as potential bond items, including parks projects, infrastructure and utility improvements.

Hutto’s three bond propositions

Hutto residents will vote on a combined $125 million in bonds this November presented in three  packages.

“City Council decided to go to the voters and say, ‘Here is our purpose and here is the budget we think we need,’ and if [the voters]feel like it’s something that’s important then they’re going to vote for it,” City Manager Odis Jones said. “And if they vote for it, we are going to execute quickly.”

The largest chunk of the proposed funds are earmarked for roadway and drainage improvement projects. The $70 million proposition specifically mentions three intersections—North FM 1660 at Limmer Loop, FM 1660 at Hwy. 79 and South FM 1660 at Front Street

The proposition also includes language for drainage improvements. Jones said he would use a combination of bond funds and private investment to alleviate flooding problems along Cottonwood Creek.

A $50 million proposition for parks projects will also be on Hutto ballots. Though the proposition does not explicitly outline any particular parks and recreation projects, concept plans for a sports complex have been previewed at previous Hutto City Council and Parks Advisory Board meetings.

Local youth sports proponents said the complex would not only provide play and practice space, but could serve to host lucrative tournaments.

Leslie DeHart, board director for Austin Texans Soccer Club in Hutto, said the complex could become an economic stimulus in town.

“People want to go out to eat and sit down at a local restaurant. They need a place to stay; they need a place to eat. They need something to do,” DeHart said.

Austin Texans in August hosted a soccer tournament in Round Rock, drawing 149 teams from across the state—an event DeHart said the group could potentially hold in Hutto if a sports complex is built.

That bond proposition language additionally outlines allowances for funding for land acquisition and parks projects across the city such as playscapes, shade structures, landscaping and splash pads.

The smallest bond proposition Hutto voters will see in November requests funds for a communications center for Hutto police and emergency services.

Plans for the facility include planning, designing, constructing, purchasing, renovating, repairing, replacing, improving, expanding and equipping the communications facility with audio and visual technology and related software or hardware.

City officials said the communication center will increase efficiency and help the city’s expanding police and emergency crews take calls and route corresponding response teams.

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  1. Great topic, and great article. It’s easy enough to blame Costco for the traffic problems on Kelly Lane, but I don’t see that as being a problem. It’s the intersection at Kennemer and Kelly Lane that is the problem. You’ve got a school crosswalk right there, and a lot of school kids crossing in the morning when people are driving to work. They are talking about adding another crosswalk to that corner, but that’s just putting a small bandaid on a gaping wound. Sometimes morning traffic can be backed up for more than half a mile on both roads. It can take longer just to get out of our neighborhood than driving into Austin! Widening up Kelly Lane east of Falcoln Point Drive is just going to turn a 2 lane parking lot into a 4 lane parking lot. What we need is a tunnel under Kelly Lane for the kids to get to school, so they don’t interfere with traffic. A pedestrian tunnel or bridge at that intersection would also make it safer for the school kids. Until we can get something like that built, we need a police officer on that corner to direct traffic before and after school. There is a crossing guard there sometimes, but crossing guards shouldn’t be directing traffic. What I see the police doing around that area is hiding around corners with their laser guns, looking for speeders. They need to be out of their cars, on their feet, directing traffic. Smart traffic signals are nice, but nothing beats a cop directing traffic. Another possible solution is for PfISD to go back to offering bus service for any kid who lives more than a mile from the school. They used to offer that service before the recession hit, but then they increased the distance to two miles to reduce costs, and never went back to the one mile limit as the economy recovered. Now many parents that live between one an two miles from the schools drive their kids to school, which greatly contributes to vehicle congestion in the area before and after school. They really shouldn’t be handing out any more residential building permits until they fix the traffic problems for existing residents.

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Kirby Killough
Kirby Killough joined Community Impact after working in broadcast news. She is currently the editor for the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto edition of Community Impact.
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