By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Local developer Pete Dwyer is part of Austin’s first Sustainably Roadway project, a $9 million extension of Parmer Lane just west of Manor, which broke ground last week.
“Central Texas is a hub of innovation and ingenuity; now, even our region’s road construction efforts can maintain that entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dwyer, a Steiner Ranch resident and principal of Dwyer Realty Companies.
The Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway Project is a 1.5-mile, divided, four-lane roadway that will extend the current Parmer Lane at U.S. 290 south and east to connect to Texas 130 through the heart of the 1,450-acre WildHorse property.
Dwyer and the rest of the team developing the WildHorse community were joined by officials from Travis County, the City of Austin and the Hill Country Alliance on June 18 along Texas 130 to break ground for the Sustainable Roadway pilot project.
The $9 million project — divided evenly between the 2005 Travis County Bond Program, a City of Austin Transportation Bond and private investment from the WildHorse development team led by Titan Capital Investment Group — is scheduled to be completed by spring 2015, weather permitting.
“The Sustainable Roadway project has been in the making for about three years,” said Dwyer, who helped bring both the Sustainable Roadway and the Wildhorse Masterplan together.
Among its many objectives, the Parmer Lane extension will provide safe separation between automobiles and pedestrians/cyclists with a wide 10-foot trail.
The roadway will also utilize solar-powered signal crossings, preserve as many trees and as much vegetation as possible to reduce soil erosion, incorporate pervious for hardscape areas where possible, feature drought-tolerant native and adaptive plants, and install water-conserving irrigation equipment.
Dwyer explained they will capture water runoff in a big, shallow ditch or bioswale, where they will have a plant palette, in conjunction with Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, of all native vegetation species. The plant roots will trap the water, in the ground, and then put it back up into the atmosphere.
The WildHorse master-planned, mixed-use community is expected to have two thousand homes, about three thousand apartments and condos, and several millions of square feet for business, said Dwyer.
The first homes will begin construction early next year and the development is expected to be finished a decade later.
WildHorse Ranch PUD was conceived by Dwyer in 2001, when he began assembling the land what was at one time nearly 1,900 acres. Dwyer’s involvement in East Travis County stemmed from the late 1990’s when the communities of ShadowGlen and Presidential Meadows were first built by Dwyer’s company. WildHorse Creek, a portion of the original Eppright Estate, which comprises the majority of land in WildHorse, was developed in the City of Manor separately in 2010, and is now complete.
Last Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony was the culmination of years of hard work for Dwyer.
“It was a great day,” he said.
“Parmer Lane will not only connect to the planned network of trails at WildHorse and enhance the driving experience to the future WildHorse information center, but will also provide a tangible blueprint for future roadway projects across the region and beyond,” Dwyer added.
“This is an unprecedented partnership that is yielding an unprecedented approach to building roads in Central Texas,” said Travis County Precinct One Commissioner Ron Davis. “As we continue to deliver needed roads to keep up with exceptional growth in our region and the desired development zone along Texas 130, through this Parmer Lane project we can build safe, reliable, pleasant and sustainable roadways across the region.”
In addition to Dwyer and Davis, the groundbreaking ceremony also featured City of Austin Council Member Laura Morrison and Hill Country Alliance Executive Director Christy Muse.