June 2016 Traffic Update

June 2016 Traffic Update

A little over 4 years ago when the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association (SRNA) was formed, it was already apparent that traffic congestion in the Four Points area was a worsening problem.  SRNA began the process of elevating this problem to TXDoT, our County Commissioner, the City of Austin and the CAMPO Commissioners, in an effort to gain recognition of the problem, and then begin to develop possible solutions. Along the way, SRNA has coordinated with community leadership in Lakeway, Four Points and surrounding neighborhoods along the RM 620 and FM 2222 corridors as it was apparent that traffic concerns along both routes had to be addressed in tandem to facilitate both near and long term solutions.

It now appears that community efforts are beginning to pay off.  TXDoT agreed to fund a traffic study for the corridor from SR 71 to US 183 that has been completed. The results showed that the RM 620 corridor in West Austin has become one of the most congested roadways in the Austin metropolitan area due to the topographically constrained nature of the corridor and significant growth in residential and business development. Significant growth in the NW and SW areas of Austin add to the traffic congestion because of RM 620’s status as the only major north-south connector in West Austin. The RM 620 / FM 2222 intersection has become a particular bottleneck due to its similar status as the only major east-west corridor tying together RM 620 with the city center.

TXDoT projects that traffic grades of service along the corridor which are already in a “failing” state will continue to worsen – along with wasted hours and reduced mobility within a few short years along major stretches of RM 620 and the adjoining FM 2222.

TXDoT has proposed a solution to provide near term relief by expanding FM 2222 through a critical section between the top of the hill at McNeal Drive and a new intersection to be located in the current vicinity of the Cooke’s Automotive. Additionally, a new bypass road between south RM 620 and easterly FM 2222 will allow traffic ultimately headed south on RM 620 or east on FM 2222 to bypass the current RM 620 / FM 2222 intersection. The combination of these improvements is expected to provide significant relief to the RM 620 corridor and is the most critical near term project along the corridor.  The project is currently in the environmental phase of study and may be ready for construction by 2018.

Today, the RM 620 / FM 2222 project is unfunded and funding constraints risk sliding the implementation of the project out several years.

Additional TXDoT studies have been conducted to identify additional solutions for RM 620 to address the dire congestion forecast along other segments of the corridor, and to provide a longer-term solution for the RM 620 / FM 2222 and RM 620 / Anderson Mill intersections. This study has proposed a two-part solution which includes expanding RM 620 by one lane in each direction to a 6-lane divided highway with a second (and possibly concurrently built) phase to include elevated express lanes. Combined, these two solutions would provide necessary relief for the corridor looking toward the 20-year horizon. Without these two changes, corridor conditions will continue to deteriorate.

Next month, we will cover the ongoing effort being made by your Association to secure the political support from various stakeholders as the necessary precursor to securing funding to bring these road improvements to fruition. Anyone interested in helping with this effort is encouraged to contact the Association  – just click on “Contact Us” on this page.