By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Texas Department of Transportation unveiled plans last month for an auxiliary connector road and additional through lanes to help relieve congestion in Four Points during the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association annual meeting. After the meeting, SRNA asked for clarification about the traffic growth projections used in the traffic studies for RM 620 and RM 2222 improvements.
With the proposed connector road and additional lanes, there would be a estimated decrease in delays in Four Points traffic of 65 percent by the year 2020, said Mark Jones, Georgetown area engineer with TxDOT at the May 28 meeting.
“At the meeting it was stated that a 2 percent growth was used per year, but the graphic also showed a 77 percent increase in congestion between now and 2020,” said Brian Thompto, chairman of the SRNA.
This chart shows there would be a 77 percent increase in delays without adding a connector road.
TxDOT provided a clarification for the traffic growth projection.
“We used 3 percent growth per year between 2012 and 2014 and 2 percent growth per year between 2014 and 2020. This represents an overall growth of 19 percent between 2012 and 2020 during the AM and PM peak periods only,” according to TxDOT.
“They used a projection of 19 percent growth in traffic volume in their simulations between 2012 and 2020 — this gives a better sense of the magnitude of traffic change they used due to growth,” Thompto said.
TxDOT explained, “Congestion grows more quickly than traffic volume since the roads are already beyond capacity, so that 19 percent growth in traffic leads to a much larger increase in delay/congestion.”
Thompto thinks these are solid numbers.
“This in not growth in housetops, but traffic increase during peak periods of the day and not the entire day,” Thompto said. “I don’t know how we come up with a better number than that.”
“The bottom line is that it is a 65 percent improvement against that target,” he said.
Traffic studies were done to arrive at these proposed solutions.
The proposed connector road would be located south of BBQ Outfitters near the High Pointe Shopping Village sign on RM 620 and run adjacent to the power lines and join RM 2222 east of Cooke’s Automotive.
Two additional lanes would be added onto RM 2222, one in each direction feeding this new connector road. These added lanes would go through McNeil Drive and start/stop at the top of Tumbleweed Hill.
TxDOT’s plans also call for adding an additional lane northbound from Steiner Ranch Boulevard to the proposed connector road.
In addition, TxDOT also has a dual left-turn project pending at McNeil Drive.
These concepts could cost more than an estimated $4o million and could take up to five years to complete, if funding is earmarked and plans go smoothly, said Greg Malatek, Austin district engineer with TxDOT.
TxDOT plans to do another study this summer and compare it to the 2012 study. Thompto said it won’t be an apples to apples comparison because summer peak times are different than school-year peak times.
There will be several follow up meetings about TxDOT’s proposed plans to help inform all of Four Points about the potential changes.