The city of Round Rock, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation and Williamson County, celebrated the start of construction on its RM 620 project with a groundbreaking ceremony March 11. City, county and TxDOT officials said for residents and local entities alike, this has been more than 20 years in the making.

The project, initially projected to kick off last fall, was delayed due to utility coordination, TxDOT officials confirmed Feb. 13. The project scope runs along RM 620 from I-35 to Deep Wood Drive and will take approximately 28-30 months to complete, TxDOT Regional Engineer Bobby Ramthun confirmed in a phone interview with Community Impact Newspaper on March 9.

“I think the important thing to reiterate is it’s going to involve some patience with folks,” Ramthun said, “and we’ll do the best we can to keep everyone updated and informed.”

RM 620 was built approximately 75 years ago, TxDOT officials said during the March 11 groundbreaking ceremony. Since, it has become a major arterial for both the city of Round Rock and the Greater Austin region. With St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center on RM 620, along with businesses and schools, TxDOT officials said its improvements are a top priority.

Major enhancements to the roadway include two overpasses, located over the railroad tracks at the Chisholm Trail and RM 620 intersection as well as Lake Creek Drive; a roundabout constructed beneath the bridge at the railroad tracks; and the widening of RM 620 from five to six lanes in certain sections of the project scope, with some portions along the route set to maintain its four-lane structure.

Ramthun said crews began initial stages of work on March 1, mainly preparations for the project’s official groundbreaking. Ramthun added residents and local commuters can expect to see drainage and utility works in the upcoming weeks prior to major road construction beginning.

“They’re not going to see a lot of changes in their travel patterns or any changes to the striping and lanes, and all lane closures will be done at night,” Ramthun said. “So at best, they’ll see workers on the side of the road outside of the travel lanes working in the existing right of way.”

Crews will be working to temporarily widen portions of RM 620 during initial construction stages, advising for drivers to be extra cautious. Temporary widenings will occur on the north side of RM 620 between Deep Wood Drive and Lake Creek Drive, as well as between Chisholm Trail and I-35, he added.

Alex Navarro, the public involvement officer for TxDOT’s Austin district, said on March 9 that TxDOT has an outreach and engagement group in place to keep residents, local schools and business owners up to date with the construction process. Part of the outreach group’s efforts, Navarro added, will include informing area stakeholders on what they can expect from their commutes as construction progresses.

“The intent here is to improve safety and mobility for everyone who lives in the area, who travels in the area, who has a business in the area,” Navarro said. “That’s really our prime goal, is to increase safety and mobility for everyone in that community.”

Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan, addressing the crowd March 11, said in his nine years on City Council and 15 living in the city, the transportation project he has heard residents discuss most is RM 620. Morgan thanked the county and the state for their collaborative efforts.

“When we do partnerships, everybody in our communities benefit,” Morgan said. “We ought to, as governmental entities, always look for avenues to help benefit our citizens through all the governmental entities.”