By KIM ESTES, Four Points News
The Texas Department of Transportation launched the RM 620 Feasibility Study earlier this year and recently reported preliminary results showing drivers want relief.
“Thus far, (study outcomes) have been very straightforward – there is a problem and people want it solved as quickly as possible,” said Kelli Reyna, TxDOT spokesperson. “The result of the feasibility study would be a list of prioritized projects, which would then need community support to gain funding.”
Launched earlier this year, the RM 620 study is intended to identify problems and investigate the feasibility of various short-, mid- and long-term solutions for the 18.8-mile segment extending from SH 71W to US 183N.
“Currently, we are about halfway done with the study and expect it to be complete in April or May 2016,” Reyna said.
TxDOT officials reported preliminary survey results at an Oct. 16 meeting of Four Points’ neighborhood representatives from Steiner Ranch, Hudson Bend and Apache Shores. Additionally, officials answered questions regarding a proposed bypass that would route Steiner Ranch and Lakeway traffic past the RM 620/RM 2222 intersection.
“The proposed bypass, also referred to as the connector road, is in the environmental phase of the project development process,” Reyna said.
The bypass project doesn’t have funding yet nor do the proposed options to improve traffic flow gathered from the RM Feasibility Study. The goal is to have plans ready when financial support is identified, Reyna said.
RM 620 survey
TxDOT received 2,131 RM 620 Feasibility Study responses as of Sept. 18, with 70 percent saying they live along the RM 620 corridor.
About 85 percent of surveyed RM 620 drivers take the highly traveled thoroughfare to run daily errands and shop. The study also reports that about 60 percent use the road to access other roadways, a little more than 40 percent take it to-and-from work sites located outside the corridor and just over 25 percent take it to-and-from school.
Most respondents, more than 85 percent, reported experiencing significant traffic congestion during weekday evening rush hours, while about 80 percent reported the same experience in weekday morning rush hours. About 45 percent said traffic congestion problems were unpredictable.
Among the details, “overall congestion” was ranked by 38 percent as the No. 1 problem, while 24 percent said it was backups at intersections.
The survey found that 65 percent of respondents most often identified Bullick Hollow/RM 2222 as having significant mobility problems compared with 10 other intersections on the road. Coming in second was Anderson Mill Road, according to about 55 percent of participants. In ninth place was Quinlan Park Road and in last place was the light at Plaza Volente, with a little more than 30 percent each.
Only 12 percent said safety was the most significant problem.
Finally, when ranking solutions for addressing congestion issues, eliminating traffic signals on through traffic by building over/under passes at intersections got the highest mark at 38 percent, followed by construction of additional lanes by 28 percent of respondents.
When TxDOT announced the study at the first of the year, project manager, Bruce Byron said officials hoped to gain a consensus with each of the local governments as to what the short-term and long-term projects would be.
“Then, it’s a matter of getting together and figuring out how we would fund those projects,” Byron said.
“At the end of the day, the public will have a clearly defined list of options and what their impacts would be,” he said.
The survey remains open through the end of the year for any who still want to participate. To take the survey or leave a comment, go to www.620study.com
RM 620/RM 2222 bypass update
Regarding the bypass study, Reyna reported the completion date is uncertain.
The proposed connector road would start near the High Pointe Shopping Village sign and emerge east of Cooke’s Automotive. There would be added traffic signals at both spots.
Two additional lanes would be added onto RM 2222, one in each direction feeding the new connector road. These added lanes would go through McNeil Drive and start/stop at the top of Tumbleweed Hill.
In a Corridor Improvements report dated July 27, 2015, TxDOT said that currently 48,600 vehicles, or a maximum of 3,900 vehicles an hour, are on RM 620 south of RM 2222. On RM 2222, east of RM 620, vehicles per day number 38,400 or a maximum of 3,200 per hour. And, finally, on RM 2222, east of River Place, there are 43,500 vehicles a day or a maximum hourly volume of 3,700 vehicles.
The report, based on historic trends and proposed traffic in 2020, predicts the connector road would reduce delays by 65 percent.