Travis County commissioners voted unanimously to approve using up to $500,000 in savings from a 2001 bond project for the Quinlan Park Road work announced here.

Via the Statesman

A two-lane road leading to River Ridge Elementary School in Steiner Ranch will be widened to include a center turn lane.

Travis County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve using up to $500,000 in savings from a 2001 bond project for the road work. It will expand an estimated one-third mile section of Quinlan Park Road, between Tierra Grande Trail and Bella Mar Trail.

Quinlan Park Road provides access to nearby River Ridge Elementary School, which opened in 2009 at 12900 Tierra Grande Trail.

County officials said the turn lane is needed to reduce traffic congestion during morning and afternoon peak hours.

“Traffic has been backing up on that two-lane road, creating a safety hazard. We want to move that traffic into a safer area so that (through) traffic can continue unimpeded,” said Steve Manilla, county executive for the Transportation and Natural Resources Department.

The county hopes to begin construction during the school’s summer break, as requested by residents. Officials estimate the project’s cost at $500,000 for construction and $93,328 for engineering services.

Before voting, commissioners heard from a county resident, Randy Pimpler, who questioned whether using leftover bond money was legal.

“I would ask if and when we have bond savings and leftover bond money that we would use it to pay off existing debt,” Pimpler said.

Manilla said using the money for the roadwork is legal and appropriate.

“In this case it really comes down to a sense of urgency,” Manilla said, explaining that if the county used the normal budget process, securing money could take another year.

County Judge Sam Biscoe said that the county tries to use bond project savings for projects similar to those voters originally approved, in this case road and bridge projects.

“We can’t always have what we want right now,” Pimpler said. “Sometimes we have to put things off and wait.”

jcastillo@statesman.com; 445-3635