Top transportation officials update Cedar Park chamber on projects

Top transportation officials convened May 8 to update the Cedar Park business community on some of the region's top mobility initiatives.

The four-person presentation came as part of the monthly Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce luncheon and offered a perspective on transportation projects as they affect Cedar Park, Williamson County, the Austin metropolitan area and Central Texas.

Cedar Park Assistant City Manager Sam Roberts said the city has been very busy the past two years completing three major projects—or $33 million worth of construction.

Notable projects include Brushy Creek Road, FM 1431 and Park Street. In addition, there are 12 projects totaling $41 million worth of construction taking place throughout Cedar Park.

Roberts said the top two projects included improvements on New Hope Drive and Cottonwood Creek, as well as $21 million worth of improvements on FM 1431, where construction is expected to begin by January. Many of the projects received county and state support, he said.

Looking forward, Roberts encouraged those in attendance to visit imaginecedarpark.com to provide input on future transportation initiatives, including the city's vision for US 183.

"We'd love to have input from businesses," he said.

Roberts was joined by Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long, who discussed the potential bond election in November.

It would be the third bond election since 2000, she said. Since then, the county has invested approximately $750 million in transportation projects, adding nearly 300 miles of capacity.

A task force is actively looking into the most pressing needs around the county, she said. The investment is necessary and has paid off in the past in terms of economic development, she said.

"We're told—and I'm probably preaching to the choir here—that those transportation systems are making all the difference," Long said.

Mario Espinoza, deputy executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, was quick to compliment the City of Cedar Park for their ongoing relationship, which began 10 years ago with the advent of Toll 183A.

Espinoza discussed further improvements underway by the Mobility Authority to add express lanes to US 183 and MoPac, where construction will begin later this year. There is also a two-year study underway, he said, that will track whether more motorists would use tollways if fees were reduced during non-peak commuting hours.

"We want to be able to understand what the communities' flexibility is in their commute times," Espinoza said.

Lorena Echeverria de Misi, Texas Department of Transportation Austin district planner, said the state is involved in some capacity on many of the projects in the region. The state also works to keep the transportation system maintained, she said.

"Basically all our major corridors are being touched in some level," Echeverria de Misi said.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.


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