Improvements coming to RM 620 North

Concrete barriers, Anderson Mill crossover

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Near-term improvements are coming to RM 620 N which include adding four stretches of concrete barriers to along the most dangerous stretches of the road. Additionally major improvements are coming to the Anderson Mill Road intersection, which will help provide relief for Four Points area traffic.

The new barriers were one of the main topics discussed at the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association meeting on Sept. 11 in Steiner. Bruce Byron, Texas Department of Transportation project manager, presented upcoming RM 620 N changes to the 25 attendees. Representative Paul Workman, R-Austin was present and spoke at the meeting as well.

New concrete barriers will be placed where there are curves in RM 620 from Mansfield Dam to RM 2222.

“We’re putting the raised concrete barriers at the most severe curves to deter head-on collisions,” Byron said. Preliminary plans call for this to take place within the next nine to 12 months.

The idea of the barriers came up several months ago after officials met with a group of concerned citizens, Byron said. He said it is a start but “ultimately we need more than that.”

Traffic flow
Along RM 620 N, the RM 2222 intersection is the second worst intersection and Anderson Mill is the worst, according to Byron. But the good news is major improvements are scheduled for RM 620 at Anderson Mill Road within the next few years.

TxDOT plans call for a continuous flow intersection or CFI to be built rather than fixing pieces here and there for a partial flow intersection, Byron said.

“By time we get the thing (partial flow) built, it’d almost be obsolete,” Byron said. “We may as well spend the money now… and do this thing and do it right.”

Continuous flow is also called a crossover displaced left-turn intersection and is an at-grade road junction. Vehicles that turn across opposing direction of traffic, cross before they enter the intersection. Vehicles traveling in both directions can proceed.

Funding is key for the CFI and the interested parties for that stretch of RM 620 N have organized and presented their case. The intersection plans are set to go and next year this project is projected to begin.

The Anderson Mill example is something the Four Points area needs to do for the next phase of road improvements in the local area, according to officials.

“We need seed money,” Workman said. There are four key players that need to come together to help fund RM 620 N improvements: Travis County, Williamson County, Cedar Park and the city of Austin. They need to collaborate and say, “here are our matching funds,” he said.

“We’ll continue to put pressure on those four entities to provide the seed money,” Workman said.

“At the end of the day it is money. We need advocates in making RM 620 a priority,” said Brian Thompto, chairman of SRNA. The interested parties have to come together and continue to present these priorities to CAMPO for funding.

Thompto also said the community’s voice is critical in this step. Four Points has to advocate for itself.

Bypass project
Byron also updated the $18 million RM 620/RM 2222 bypass project, which is under contract and projected to be complete by summer 2020.

The project includes a new connecting bypass road between RM 620 and RM 2222 to allow concurrent flow of northbound and southbound traffic between RM 620 and RM 2222. It will also add: two lanes on RM 2222 through River Place Boulevard and McNeil Drive intersections; improvement of RM 2222 and River Place Boulevard and McNeil Drive intersections to allow concurrent left turns; and add a lane of travel along RM 620 from Steiner Ranch Boulevard north to the new bypass.

There will be construction related traffic issues with the bypass project over the next two years. Utilities will be moved first.

“You’ll see utility companies out there moving power lines,” Byron said.

Drainage is one problem and more is needed so a storm sewer will need to go under RM 620 at the RM 2222 intersection to let out in an area down Bullick Hollow Road, Byron said. Trenching will take place and eliminate the center lane for a time. The left lane will be out of commission while this is taking place, Byron said.

He added that changes to RM 2222 will take place first and those will be some of the hardest parts of the overall project because the traffic will be displaced. Cutting the road through the greenbelt will not disrupt traffic as much during phase 2 of the project.

“It’ll be a relief valve and a huge mitigator to make our lives better,” Thompto said.