With Austin City Council’s vote on Oak Hill Parkway looming, area residents offer mixed reactions

The Texas Department of Transportation is proposing a 12-lane highway near the Y at Oak Hill.

The Texas Department of Transportation is proposing a 12-lane highway near the Y at Oak Hill.

Rick Perkins, a resident of the Granada Hills subdivision in Southwest Austin, lives about 500 feet from the site of the future Oak Hill Parkway. The proposed 12-lane project on Hwys. 290 and 71 has his full attention. And support.

“I have lived here over 18 years,” he said. “The majority of the people who live in Oak Hill—myself included—want to see the Oak Hill Parkway built ASAP.”

As Austin City Council prepares to vote Jan. 31 on a $3.3 million contribution to the estimated $545 million project, Southwest Austin residents are speaking out.

Earlier this week, a group called Save Oak Hill issued a news release asking local officials to consider changes to the design and scope of the project. The document quoted residents raising concerns about harm to the environment and lengthy construction delays upsetting their quality of life.

“[Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods] unanimously passed a resolution with our member’s specific requests for the highway,” Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods President Cynthia Wilcox said in the release. “We are optimistic that the Mayor and City Council will help us achieve a better outcome—one that TxDOT and CAMPO can be proud of—and one that will be an asset to the community and model for future projects.”

In January 2015, OHAN passed a resolution recommending Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 design and construction criteria. The criteria include considerations for noise mitigation, neighborhood impact, access, elevation and more.

“We worked very hard to develop these criteria,” said Darryl Pruett, former president of OHAN whose term expired Dec. 2018. “My understanding is that TxDOT has met some and that others will be addressed later in the process. I hope they’ll continue in their cooperative attitude working with the people of OHAN moving forward.”

Save Oak Hill announced in the release plans to ask the city of Austin, Travis County and other officials for a committee to consider changes to speed up construction and further protect the environment. Save Oak Hill has also been vocal at recent planning meetings for the project.

Wilcox did not immediately respond to an interview request from Community Impact Newspaper.

"A few obstructionists are driving the delay-delay-delay attitude and message," Granada Hills resident David Sherby said in an emailed statement to Community Impact Newspaper. "I can assure you just as many, if not a majority, want this solution, and they want it now."
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By Taylor Jackson Buchanan

Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.


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