Study will determine the future of SH 45 frontage road gaps

Future plans for the SH 45 frontage road ngaps between Heatherwilde Boulevard nand Donnell Drive could be determined nby an impending study from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Future plans for the SH 45 frontage road ngaps between Heatherwilde Boulevard nand Donnell Drive could be determined nby an impending study from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Image description
Total transactions
Ann Holmes moved to a townhouse just north of SH 45 near the intersection of Donnell Drive and High Country Boulevard about a year and a half ago. She said when she purchased her home she was told by her real estate agent the missing SH 45 frontage road nearby would be filled in soon.

“I probably would not have bought a home here knowing that I [still] don’t see [the frontage road project] happening any time soon,” Holmes said. “It’s horrible.”

The gap exists between Donnell and Heatherwilde Boulevard on both sides of the SH 45 toll road.

For Holmes, simple trips to the Stone Hill Town Center—just two miles from her house—require her to either take a lengthy trip through surrounding neighborhoods or get on the toll road.

Holmes is not alone. Traffic regularly backs up on the roadways surrounding the missing frontage road.

“If we decide to leave during a rush hour it takes us forever to get out [of the neighborhood],” Holmes said.

Round Rock Director of Transportation Gary Hudder said that piece of the road was never constructed when the toll road was completed in 2006.

Hudder said that although the portion of the roadway lies in Travis County and Pflugerville city limits, the cities of Pflugerville and Round Rock came to an agreement that Round Rock would take the lead on the project to fill in the roadway.

“The region is what is impacted by the missing frontage road,” Hudder said. “Round Rock is impacted, and our residents are impacted.”

Round Rock City Council on Jan. 10 voted to fund a study with Pflugerville for the Texas Department of Transportation, which owns the toll road and frontage road, to perform a traffic and revenue study.

Hudder said in the last year and a half the two cities have conducted some preliminary design work for the project and have begun work with TxDOT. The traffic and revenue study represents the next step in
the process.

“Pflugerville has actually had a lot of economic development along those pieces of the frontage road, so this becomes very critical to them,” Hudder said. “For us it is a convenience and traffic-management tool.”

The total cost of the study—just over $61,000—would be split with Round Rock and Pflugerville, according to Hudder. The study would be conducted on behalf of TxDOT, and would determine the potential revenue impact the project could have on the toll road.

“The way the toll structure is set up is they have bond holders that fund toll projects, and then the way they get reimbursed on those bonds is through revenues that the toll system generates,” Hudder said. “Whenever there is something this significant
that could impact that revenue stream, they are obligated to do a revenue study.”

Hudder said the study will identify any potential revenue impact to the main lanes of the toll road.

“Now we get to this point ... where there could potentially be a revenue implication that would have to be resolved in some way,” Hudder said.

If the study indicates a negative revenue impact to the toll road, Hudder said TxDOT could prevent Round Rock and Pflugerville from carrying out the project unless a plan is put in place to reimburse the lost toll funds.

“It could not happen,” Hudder said. “More than likely, after we get through this ... process with them, Round Rock and the city of Pflugerville will have a decision to make ... [as to] how much it is going to cost to make the connection, which would include full design, construction … as well as potential revenue impacts that we would be obligated to take care of.”

Although the outcome of the study has the potential to sideline the project, Hudder said he is optimistic that it will move forward.

“The outcome [of the study] probably is going to be that [TxDOT] will determine that we can move forward but at what cost,” Hudder said. “It will be an economic decision at that point.”

Hudder anticipates that—with City Council’s approval of the funding—the study will take roughly six months to complete.

“I am hopeful that by the end of this calendar year we will be through the TxDOT toll process and have pretty clear direction as to whether we want to move forward,” Hudder said.

Should the project move forward, the cities of Round Rock and Pflugerville will be responsible for funding the frontage road improvements.
By 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.


MOST RECENT

AYRO relocated to an approximately 24,000-square-foot facility at Settlers Crossing Business Park. (Courtesy Austin Chamber of Commerce)
Round Rock-based AYRO expands electric vehicle manufacturing facility

AYRO relocated to an approximately 24,000-square-foot facility at Settlers Crossing Business Park.

There have been more than 10,000 total coronavirus cases in Travis County as of July 1. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 597 new coronavirus cases July 1

There have been more than 10,000 total coronavirus cases in Travis County as of July 1.

Williamson County reported 139 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus July 1. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County reported 139 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus July 1

Currently, 98 patients are hospitalized, and 35 are in intensive care, per the report.

Money stock art
Comptroller: Texas June sales tax revenue totaled $2.7 billion, down 6.5% from a year ago

The Texas comptroller's office has released June sales tax revenue figures.

Traditionally held at The Pfield in Pflugerville, the city’s annual celebration will take place at Typhoon Texas this year. (Courtesy Pexel)
Here is the latest on 4th of July celebrations in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto

From fireworks to pool parties to parades and more, here is what you need to know about local Independence Day events in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

Jersey Mike's Subs will partner with the Round Rock Area Serving Center during its grand opening celebration and will collect donations for RRASC from July 1-5. (Courtesy Jersey Mike's Subs)
Jersey Mike's Subs opens second Round Rock location

The sandwich shop will collect donations for the Round Rock Area Serving Center during its July 1-5 grand opening.

The report comes as Texas, like states across the country, puzzles through decisions on what the upcoming academic year will look like for students and staff. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Texas Education Agency: 1 in 10 students have disengaged during the pandemic

More than 600,000 Texas public school students didn't complete assignments or respond to outreach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers of the Austin City Limits Music Festival announced July 1 the 2020 event will not take place. (Courtesy Charles Reagan Hackleman)
Austin City Limits Music Festival canceled for 2020

The annual festival brought more than 75,000 fans per day across two weekends last year and had a $291 million impact on the local economy.

Capital Metro announced July 1 that an employee has died after testing positive for COVID-19. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro employee dies after testing positive for COVID-19

The employee of the public transportation agency tested positive for the virus June 18.

The fast-food chain serves chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, waffle fries and breakfast items.(Courtesy Chick-fil-A)
Chick-fil-A opens Round Rock location on Palm Valley Blvd.

Round Rock, the wait is over. Chick-fil-A opened today.

Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date.
Pflugerville discusses, postpones potential mask ordinance conversation to later date

Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date.

While there are many unknowns regarding public education operations next year, one thing is for certain: Students will be required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Students to be required to take STAAR test in 2020-21 school year

While there are many unknowns regarding public education operations next year, one thing is for certain: Students will be required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.