The Texas Department of Transportation will break ground in June or July on the $674 million Oak Hill Parkway project, which will address congestion near the intersection of W. Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 at The Y at Oak Hill. Construction could take up to five years to complete.
ACC’s board of trustees in March authorized Chancellor Richard Rhodes to enter a contract with Colorado River Constructors, the contractors for the TxDOT project. Monetary details have not yet been made public, but the contract allows the company to rent the Pinnacle Campus parking lot for parking, storage, and operation of construction equipment and materials, according to ACC.
“There are three locations that were considered for the concrete batch plant,” Rhodes said during a meeting April 5. “The Pinnacle site was determined to be the safest site available along the Oak Hill Parkway project corridor.”
According to Rhodes, selecting Pinnacle as the site will reduce truck traffic on W. Hwy. 290 and allow safe access to the worksite during the project. He said the already existing Pinnacle parking lot will help meet water quality requirements as well.
CRC Manager Laurie Simmons said the plant would be located on a third of an acre within the 50-acre Pinnacle property. She said existing trees surrounding the campus would cut noise and hide the site from neighboring properties, and no trees would be removed for the concrete plant’s construction, making the campus the best local option for the worksite.
However, residents from surrounding Oak Hill neighborhoods fear that a plant could adversely impact local air quality, while creating noise pollution for homes that border the project. Twenty Oak Hill residents signed up to speak during public comments at the April 5 ACC board meeting in opposition to the contract.
“The damage done to people’s health in those three years can be permanent,” resident Patty Koeninger said. “Implementation of this project would have an enormous negative impact on the neighborhood.”
Cynthia Wilcox, the president of the Oak Hill Association of Neighbors, who has spoken in opposition of the Oak Hill Parkway Project in the past, said the community felt ACC and CRC acted without transparency when authorizing the contract on the March 1 consent agenda. She asked trustees to reconsider and to vote to rescind the decision.
“It's impossible for the community to have any confidence that this location is safe, or even the lesser of the evils, without full disclosure of all other options and time for comparisons,” she said April 5.
Although discussed during public comment, the Pinnacle contract was not listed on the April 5 meeting agenda, and trustees did not speak on the issue at the meeting.
The Pinnacle campus, located at 7748 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, has not been open since 2018. According to ACC, the agreement with Colorado River Constructors will not impact any current college operations or plans for the property.