Oak Hill Parkway project scheduled for mid-year groundbreaking, but lawsuit aims to scale it back

The Oak Hill Parkway project is set to break ground in the middle of 2021. (Rendering courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
The Oak Hill Parkway project is set to break ground in the middle of 2021. (Rendering courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)

The Oak Hill Parkway project is set to break ground in the middle of 2021. (Rendering courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)

A $677.1 million highway project that was initially scheduled to break ground in 2020 is now set to begin in the middle of 2021, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. However, the project will only proceed as planned if the state wins an ongoing lawsuit against a group of local residents pushing for a different design.

The Oak Hill Parkway project would expand the roadway in a stretch of Southwest Austin near the intersections of Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 to two to three main lanes and two to three frontage road lanes in each direction. TxDOT says the design will deliver much-needed traffic relief in an area the Texas A&M Transportation Institute ranked as the 43rd most congested roadway in the state in 2020.

The lawsuit filed by the Save Barton Creek Association, Save Oak Hill and other neighborhood groups argues the 12-lane design TxDOT has proposed would “divide Oak Hill for generations.” The groups are putting forth a different design, which they call Livable Oak Hill, that proposes six lanes at grade level, which they say will provide more connectivity to the region and better access to businesses while still addressing traffic.

The two sides entered mediation in November, but those efforts ceased in mid-January, according to both TxDOT and Angela Richter, Save Barton Creek Association president.

“I urge TxDOT to adopt the community-driven design and use the millions that would be saved for other needed transportation projects in our region,” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said in a news release.


Meanwhile, workers in the area are preparing for construction, drilling into the ground to gather information about soil and rock features, installing fencing and relocating a transmission line.

This story is part of Community Impact Newspaper's Annual Community Guide, which takes a look at the biggest development, health care, education, government and local business stories for the year ahead.