Funding is now available to expand a 1-mile stretch of Manchaca Road from Ravenscroft Drive to FM 1626 into a five-lane road to alleviate area traffic congestion.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will fund the Texas Department of Transportation project, which will establish two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane. The project will also add sidewalks and shoulders.
CAMPO’s board voted Oct. 10 to approve $7.6 million for construction of the project, CAMPO Executive Director Ashby Johnson said.
The project was considered for funding a couple of years ago, Johnson said. Since then, two other projects—FM 1431, which is located in Cedar Park, and SH 45 SW, which was cleared for construction in November—were awarded funding from other sources, freeing up funds for the Manchaca widening, he said.
CAMPO reached out to Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen for input before presenting the project for consideration. Kitchen said local residents Ron Richter and Roberto Talamas with the Hillcrest Homeowners Association have been advocates for the roadwork.
“They approached me shortly after I took office, and I have been working with them and TxDOT over the last year to locate funding for this stretch of the road,” Kitchen said in an email. “Needless to say, we shared their relief [and] excitement when TxDOT was able to identify funding and [the] CAMPO board voted to approve. Safety and congestion relief will be top priorities as this road is brought up to par with the rest of Manchaca in this area, which is experiencing significant growth.”
A number of residential projects are underway along Manchaca Road.
“[There is] a mobility issue because we’ve got that bottleneck there, but it’s also a safety issue. We’ve got schools [in that area], and there have been some concerns expressed in the past,” Johnson said.
The project will go out for bids in 2018, and construction could begin by spring of that year, TxDOT Area Engineer Victor Vargas said.
TxDOT completed design and the environmental study process but will be required to go back and evaluate the noise analysis, which will take an estimated 18-24 months, he said. Officials will seek input from community members on what types of mitigation, such as noise walls, could be necessary, Vargas said.
“If you look at MoPac, that’s the wall that’s going up against the neighborhood—a physical, concrete-type barrier that would help keep the sound within [the area] or [make sound] go up and over the wall,” Vargas said.
The timeline for that public input process has not been established.