County invites feedback for Steiner evacuation route design

Road could be finished by late 2020


By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Travis County is hosting an open house this week to update the community on the proposed emergency evacuation route out of the Steiner Ranch area. Community feedback is welcomed at the event which will be held Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Canyon Ridge Middle School.

“The open house will be an opportunity for local residents to learn more about the study and look at maps and give their input and suggestions on alternate approaches for providing possible emergency access out of the Steiner Ranch neighborhood during an evacuation scenario,” said David Greear, Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources engineering division manager.

“There is a possibility to affect surrounding communities as well and we are hoping to get community input from all who may be affected,” Greear said.

Funding for the Steiner Ranch emergency evacuation route was unanimously approved by the Travis County Commissioners in early 2017. The proposed $2.7 million funding is by 2017 Certificate of Obligation bonds.

The evacuation project will include identification and evaluation of up to four possible emergency routes and design of the final selected route.

“The open house is to give the community an opportunity to see where the route options will most likely be located and glean project information,” said Katharine Hardin, project manager. “We expect to have one route, of the several under review, rise to the top at the end of this project phase.”

The non-public roadway segments of the evacuation route are intended to remain closed except during emergency conditions as directed by Emergency Services.

Travis County is working with internal and external stakeholders in order to determine what route works for most, specifically the local Emergency Service agencies, “who are engaged in the process and interested in having access options during an emergency event,” Harden said.

Environmental Services staff and the Leander ISD are engaged in this phase too.

Project timeline

“The hope is to determine the most feasible and effective emergency evacuation route by end of this year and start design in early 2019 with construction beginning in late 2019 and finishing by late 2020,” Greear said.

He added that there are a lot of challenges with terrain and environmentally sensitive areas that will make this process difficult.

For those who cannot attend the open house, there will be a survey link at the website around the time of the open house. Put “Steiner” in the search box.