Western Travis County Transportation Research

The city of Lakeway’s plan to create a toll road connecting SH 45 in Southwest Austin to RR 620 near RR 2222 in West Austin—thereby closing a loop around the city of Austin—is off the drawing board. However, in its place is a study to help regional planners understand the traffic issues plaguing western Travis County.

Will Conley, chairman of the Transportation Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, announced April 13 that Lakeway had pulled its proposal off CAMPO’s illustrative list for its 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. The project was placed June 9, 2014, on the list that includes proposals for which funding has not been identified.

“The city of Lakeway had a proposed project that generated a lot of interest in the region, particularly in western Travis County,” Conley said. “I think they have some issues—as do other areas of western Travis County—in transportation.”

The proposed toll road project, LW01, was intended to bypass a segment of RR 620 and relieve congestion in the area, said Lakeway City Councilman Joe Bain, who serves on the CAMPO Transportation Policy Board.

The project drew criticism from residents and environmental groups who said the tollway would pass through federal preserve land as well as add noise and light pollution to the area.

“We put LW01 up there to start the process of getting a study done, and now we’ve got that,” Bain said.

Conley said that since the city decided to pull the project from the illustrative list, CAMPO will support Lakeway and other area cities by creating a committee to focus strictly on transportation issues in western Travis County, he said.

The committee’s scope is the region west of Loop 360, Conley said.

“We want a good, balanced discussion [within the new committee] to deliver some results,” Conley said.

The committee is expected to begin its discussions this summer, he said.

Subregional study 

In addition to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization committee created at the April 13 meeting, Executive Director Ashby Johnson proposed the agency’s Transportation Policy Board conduct a subregional study of transportation issues in western Travis County, broader in scope than Loop 360 and RR 620.

“CAMPO should come up with some solutions that will help Lakeway and the rest of Travis County,” he said.

The proposed study will follow the results of a TxDOT study of Loop 360 and RR 620 traffic currently underway, Johnson said.

“The combination of the two studies should produce some viable options for transportation improvements in the years to come,” Lakeway City Manager Steve Jones said.