Local coalition Save Oak Hill voiced concerns about the idea of constructing an elevated toll road in the area at the Oak Hill Business and Professional Association's May 7 meeting.
The ongoing Oak Hill Parkway environmental study aims to vet and identify long-term solutions for alleviating traffic congestion near the Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 intersection, which is known as the Y at Oak Hill. At a recent context sensitive solutions, or CSS, workshop, attendees saw preliminary designs for features such as landscaping, xeriscaping and constructing retaining walls. Potential locations for CSS features were identified using feedback from more than 600 survey participants, according to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is conducting the study.
Work on interim improvements at the Y at Oak Hill is still underway, with lanes opening this month.
Alan Watts of Save Oak Hill said bringing in an elevated toll road as a result of the Oak Hill Parkway study would eliminate groves of heritage trees and put Williamson Creek between elevated roads for more than half a mile. Watts, a software developer, said he has lived in the area for about 15 years.
"I'm afraid of what's going to happen if there is a toll road," Watts said, citing examples of toll roads implemented in other cities that resulted in people avoiding them and increasing traffic delays.
Some attendees at the meeting said they are in favor of the Oak Hill Parkway concepts being considered, citing the years-long process that has been used to narrow down ideas.
OHBPA Director at Large John Rosshirt said the Mobility Authority is refining two concepts as well as a no-build option.
"It goes back to 1988 that we've been trying to get our roads taken care of," Rosshirt said, noting a record of decision was issued for an environmental impact statement in August of that year that also covered improvements near Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71.
The Mobility Authority will continue to seek feedback as part of the study, with a water quality workshop slated for this spring. Community members can provide input at www.oakhillparkway.com.