Emergency road out of Steiner getting closer

Four Points News

The Travis County Commissioners approved $2.7 million in funding for a Steiner Ranch emergency evacuation route in early March and now the project is out to bid. Public input will likely be sought in February and construction could begin in spring of 2019, said David Greear, Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources engineering division manager.

“We are in the process of asking for qualified contractors to work on this project,” Greear said.

All of the necessary paperwork is done to start advertising for qualified firms to do the work.

Katharine Hardin is the project manager with Travis County TNR.

“The packet to advertise this project for professional services was submitted to our purchasing office,” Hardin said.

This project will provide additional options for surrounding residents responding to emergencies in the area. One anticipated use for the connection would be to provide an emergency evacuation route for Steiner residents in case the front of the community is cut off from RM 620. Another anticipated function would be to help spread the traffic load of a large scale evacuation event by adding an additional access point onto RM 620.

This access will be for emergency events only, and will be closed and/or gated at all other times, Greear said. It will also allow the residents in Montview Acres an evacuation option over to Steiner in case the low water crossing on Fritz Hughes Park Drive is ever blocked, damaged, or washed out, he added.

Greear said he does not anticipate picking a consultant until November.

“Once we have picked the most qualified contractor and negotiated our fees, the contractor will begin looking into a minimum of four alternatives for emergency egress,” Greear said. “Once those alternatives are discussed with the community and a preferred route is identified, we will begin design, then construction.”

One of the first tasks of the consultant will be to evaluate alternative evacuation routes which would result in some public outreach most likely in February of next year, he said.

“I can’t give a good date for start of construction, as I don’t know which project will be chosen, but my best guess is spring of 2019,” Greear said. An expected completion date could be as early as December 2019.

Travis County Commissioners voted to use Certificates of Obligation as a new funding mechanism for priority safety projects.

Funds for this project also include improving the existing low water crossing by raising and widening the bridge so that it does not overtop as frequently, Greear added.