The Texas Department of Transportation announced its roadway projects in the Travis County area for 2013–16 at a July 10 Bee Cave City Council meeting. Construction and improvements begin on RM 620 and Hwy. 71.
While intersection improvements on Loop 360 were under development, plans were dropped "due to the lack of public support," said TxDOT spokesman John Hurt. TxDOT had planned to install an innovative intersection, referred to as a Michigan left turn, or jughandle, which replaces a left turn with both a U-turn and a right turn.
"People were just not familiar with it enough to get behind it," Hurt said. "We're building one by the airport that has a great deal of support. We don't want to do anything the folks out there wouldn't want."
The intersection, which was to be constructed at Westlake Drive, Cedar Street and Courtyard Drive, was projected to cost $3.97 million.
Plans to construct a double right-hand turn lane from RM 620 onto RM 2222 are anticipated to be contracted in December. TxDOT also plans to add a sidewalk and bike lane along RM 620 as well as replace traffic signals in the area. The project, which is estimated to cost $1.36 million, will be funded by a City of Austin bond program and TxDOT.
Several left-turn lanes and shoulders are still under development on Hwy. 71. The additional turn lanes are designed primarily as a safety issue, Hurt said.
"The left-turn lanes on Hwy. 71 will provide a safe place for vehicles to get out of the main lanes of traffic to turn," Hurt said. "They also provide a measure of congestion mitigation since vehicles will not back up behind the turning traffic."
The three additional turn lanes, which will be constructed between Bee Creek Road and Vail Divide; Vail Divide and RM 3238; and Thomas Springs and Covered Bridge roads, are expected to go under contract in late 2013.
The additional turn lanes are necessary because of the increased number of people driving in the area, Hurt said. TxDOT has been making improvements on Hwy. 71 since 2005 in order to add center turn lanes from West Hwy. 290 to Pace Bend Road.
"We've had quite a bit of work completed on Hwy. 71 in the past few years," Hurt said.
There are also plans to improve RM 620 and Hwy. 71 in 2014 and 2015. The plans currently include sealing and overlaying existing roads.