Traffic and safety woes in the Lake Travis area, as well as the surrounding Texas Hill Country, continue to be a top concern in 2019. Last year, it seemed like road enhancements were visible all along the 23.2-mile stretch of 620, from SH 71 in Bee Cave to I-35 in Round Rock.
But, of course, there’s a lot more on the way. Today TxDOT broke ground on the road widening project for 2222 from Ribelin Ranch Drive to Bonaventure Drive.
What’s next? We checked in with the Texas Department of Transportation to get a better idea of what’s happening on our roadways.
Speaking of road widening, remember the 620 widening project slated for 2022? We’re another year closer. Yikes! What does it all mean? Let’s take a look.
Houston’s still worse
First, you should be happy to know FM 620 and Highway 71 aren’t the most congested roadways, although it can certainly feel like it at times. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2018 Urban Mobility Study, our friends in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth win that award.
If we exclude I-35 because — come on, it’s insane — Austin doesn’t make the Top 10 List of “Most Congested Roadways in Texas.” However, Austin does snag a few spots in the Top 100.
Mopac makes its debut on the list at #19 (from 183 to Capital of Texas Highway). Austin made the list at #52 with US 290 (between RM 1826 and MoPac) and again at #62 with S. Lamar Boulevard (between US 290 and W. Cesar Chavez). Roadways closer to the Lake Travis area make the list at #73 – Capital of Texas Highway (between US 183 and RM 2222).
TxDOT projects way out west
A few of the big projects happening in the Lake Travis area and beyond include Oak Hill Parkway, RM 620 Projects, and the Fredericksburg Relief Route Study. The RM 620 Projects are the most extensive since our “little” highway has six major intersections within its 23-mile span (SH 71, RM 2222, US 183, FM 734, SH 45 North, and I-35).
The Oak Hill Parkway project is hoping to make long-term mobility improvements to US 290 and SH 71 through Oak Hill. The RM 620 Projects are listed below:
- RM 620 Feasibility Study from US 71 West to US 183
- RM 620/RM 2222 Connector (Bypass) Project
- RM 620 South from SH 71 to Hudson Bend Road
- Reconstruct RM 620 from east of Wyoming Springs Drive to Deep Wood Drive from a four-lane roadway to a six-lane divided roadway with median and turn lanes.
- Repave and restripe RM 620 from west of Cornerwood Drive to east of Wyoming Springs Drive from a four-lane to a six-lane divided roadway.
- Perform operational improvements from north of Lohmans Crossing to Ladera Boulevard.
- Install a traffic signal at Steiner Ranch Boulevard.
- Add an auxiliary lane to northbound RM 620 from Steiner Ranch Boulevard to the future connector road to RM 2222.
- Construct railroad grade separation structure on RM 620 from Deep Wood Drive to I-35.
We noted an exciting project that speaks to the tremendous growth in the Texas Hill Country, especially when it comes to our wineries and vineyards.
The Fredericksburg Relief Route Study focuses on improving US 290, which is often congested due to tourism on Main Street and in downtown Fredericksburg. This roadway project has been discussed for years because a relief route is an important safety issue for the community.
An upcoming third public workshop will be held in Fredericksburg on January 24th so that community members can provide input.
What to expect in Lakeway
Before the 620 road widening in 2022, roadway construction in the heart of Lake Travis — Lakeway — will continue to make the transition easier and improve safety. In Lakeway, you’ll notice the striping on Flintrock Road at 620 is being changed to improve the traffic flow (the middle lane will be left-straight-right, and the right lane will be right turn only).
The oh-so-fun temporary lane at Lohmans Crossing versus a right turn only at the light (southbound 620) is being evaluated. Plus, expect improved medians on 620 between Lohmans Crossing and Lakeway Boulevard.
Additionally, Lakeway officials are looking for ways to improve traffic congestion by connecting more internal roads. While the goal of easing the traffic burden on 620 is a good one, it’s not an easy fix. Lakeway residents can agree that once you open Pandora’s Box, you can’t close it. Think Birrell Street behind HEB near the Post Office.
The ferry is in play
This is, by far, the most exciting word we had heard since “overpass” a few years ago. Yes, talk of the ferry is not just gossip. A few weeks ago, Lakeway mayor, Sandy Cox, said in a Statesman article, “We are also in discussions with CAMPO about piloting a ferry service from Lago Vista to more efficiently bring workers to and from our area.”
Do traffic and impending roadway construction make you want to pack up and move? Do you think there will be a mass exodus before the 2022 construction starts? Let us know in the comments section on our Facebook page.
Image: TxDOT website