9 transportation updates you should know about in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto

Why does the Texas Department of Transportation have to choose the lowest bidder?

Why does the Texas Department of Transportation have to choose the lowest bidder?

1. The project in Round Rock will provide enhancements to 2.3 miles of I-35 from SH 45 N to Hwy. 79. Work includes the reconstruction of northbound and southbound frontage road intersections at I-35 and Hwy. 79, the addition of a third left-turn lane from westbound Hwy. 79 to southbound I-35, and the construction of braided ramps on northbound I-35 between Hesters Crossing Road and RM 620 in an effort to relieve bottleneck issues. Construction of braided ramps is underway.
Timeline: July 2016-early 2019

2. Williamson County is extending Arterial H to Sam Bass Road, including the design of four lanes for Arterial H.
June 2016-fall 2017

3. East Pecan Street reconstruction
East Pecan Street from east of SH 130 to Weiss Lane was reconstructed into a four-lane roadway with curbs, gutters and a sidewalk. Roadway rehabilitation was completed from Weiss to Cameron Road. The project includes two lanes in each direction with selected median openings.
Status: Construction work is complete.
Timeline: September 2016-August 2017
Cost: $1.8 million
Funding source: city of Pflugerville

4. Rowe Lane widening
Rowe Lane reconstruction of the existing two-lane section is underway, adding shoulders to the road. The project is a cost-sharing safety project with Travis County bond funds approved by voters.
Status: Phase 2 is underway, which includes the closure of the road from Commons Parkway/Treyburn Lane to Penny Royal Drive. Detours are posted around the work area.
Timeline: August-December
Cost: $1.46 million
Funding sources: city of Pflugerville, Travis County

5. RM 620 widening
The 2.74-mile segment of roadway in Round Rock will be widened from four to six lanes and will include new curbs and gutters and a raised median. The segment will include construction of left- and right-turn lanes, culverts, water-quality facilities, retaining walls and the construction of a sidewalk on the north side of RM 620.
Status: The right-turn lane on eastbound RM 620 from Cornerwood Drive to Deep Wood Drive is open. Lane closures will occur as needed.
Timeline: January 2017-spring 2018
Cost: $6 million
Funding sources: Williamson County, Texas Department of Transportation

6. Weiss Lane improvements

Transportation Updates Weiss Lane improvements[/caption]

The project will replace all bridges on Weiss Lane from East Pecan Street to Cele Road starting with the one-lane bridge near East Pecan. It will expand the road from two lanes to four, adding turn lanes and shoulders as well as improving drainage with storm drain facilities and curbs and gutters.
Status: New lanes are being used on the west side of Weiss while the eastbound side is built. The northbound and southbound lanes split near East Pecan.
Timeline: March 2017-fall 2018
Cost: $14.6 million (city of Pflugerville), $7.4 million (Travis County)
Funding sources: city of Pflugerville, Travis County

7. I-35 at FM 3406/Old Settlers Boulevard improvements
The project will replace and widen the Old Settlers Boulevard bridge, construct two new U-turn bridges—one in each direction—and make bicycle and pedestrian enhancements. The project is designed to reduce bottlenecks and improve travel times at the I-35 and Old Settlers intersection in Round Rock.
Status: There have been overnight closures of I-35 near the bridge, but weather has forced rescheduling of some of the work. Beams were put in place for the new bridge.
Timeline: March 2017-spring 2019
Cost: $12.4 million
Funding source: TxDOT

8. Sun Light Near Way expansion

Transportation Updates Sun Light Near Way expansion[/caption]

The Sun Light Near Way portion of the Helios Way project includes expanding and reconstructing the two-lane roadway from East Pecan Street to Helios. The roadway is classified as a collector and will consist of one lane in each direction with a two-way central turn lane and designated turn lanes at the Helios intersection. The Helios Way West extension consists of the extension of Helios west of Sun Light Near with a connection to East Pecan. The roadway will provide two lanes in each direction with selected median openings.
Status: The right lane of eastbound East Pecan west of Impact Way is closed during the construction on Sun Light Near. Paving work is done on the Helios Way extension. Work continues on Sun Light Near, delayed by rain at the end of August.
Timeline: November-September
Cost: $3.4 million
Funding source: city of Pflugerville

9. CR 110 South improvements
The project includes improvements to approximately 2.2 miles of CR 110 between Hwy. 79 and Limmer Loop. It will upgrade the existing two-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway, which is half of an ultimate six-lane roadway.
Status: Grading work continues to widen the road.
Timeline: March 2017-September 2018
Cost: $27 million
Funding source: Williamson County

Why does the Texas Department of Transportation have to choose the lowest bidder?

When the Texas Department of Transportation needs work to be done on a state highway, TxDOT solicits bids from developers. By state law TxDOT is required to choose the lowest bidder.

TxDOT spokesperson David Glessner said this state requirement is stipulated in the Texas  Transportation Code.

This section states that “the commission shall award the contract to the lowest bidder.”

The lowest bid is chosen after the bids are read in a public letting meeting, or a meeting where the bid is publicly made available.

In such a case TxDOT can choose the second-lowest bidder if the lowest withdraws its application prior to the contract award. A bid is also unacceptable if its low cost is due to an incomplete project bid. 

The engineer for the project has a cost estimate for the project as well. If bids are significantly lower than the engineer’s estimate, then they are most likely deemed unacceptable, Glessner said.

All information on this page was updated as of 8/25/17. News or questions about these or other local transportation projects? Email us at [email protected]

By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


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