By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
After nearly three years, the 2222 widening project in Four Points is beginning to wrap up. Construction of the project began in December 2018 and is nearing completion.
Last week, the Texas Department of Transportation was joined by state and local elected officials to cut the ribbon on the RM 2222 widening project in Four Points.
Over the length of the project, construction costs jumped from $23.6 million in earlier estimates to now closer to $24.3 million.
“Because of utility conflicts and delays associated with that, the cost of the project did increase,” said Brad Wheelis, TxDOT public information officer.
TxDOT is paying $24.3 million of the construction cost and the city of Austin is paying $203,500 toward the project.
The RM 2222 widening project included the addition of an eastbound travel lane between the newly constructed RM 620 bypass road and Sitio Del Rio Boulevard, as well as a westbound travel lane from Ribelin Ranch Drive through River Place Boulevard. Raised center medians with turn bays were constructed along RM 2222, along with dedicated turn lanes for RM 2222 on McNeil Drive and River Place Boulevard. Sidewalks were constructed on both sides of RM 2222 along the corridor.
“With the widening of RM 2222, we’re already seeing improvement in traffic flow,” Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson said on October 29. “The full benefits of this innovative approach to addressing congestion will be realized once the RM 620 bypass road is complete.”
State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Austin City Council Member Alison Alter, Council Member Mackenzie Kelly and others were on hand for the ribbon cutting.
“2222 runs right through District 10, and is an important thoroughfare: many families travel this way to go to work, school or simply go about their day,” Alter said of her district. “These improvements will help Austinites who make use of 2222 get where they need to go more quickly and safely.”
“This area is one with high wildfire risk, and in the event of a major wildfire event, it is important to have roadways that can serve as effective evacuation routes,” Alter said.
Kelly, council member District 6, echoed similar thoughts. She met with stakeholders including parents and students who took 45 minutes or more, in many cases, to get to Vandegrift High School in the mornings before the bypass and widening projects were started.
“This was a tremendous undertaking,” Kelly said. “The chief complaint I heard was for improvements to infrastructure. Now that’s fixed.”
The City of Austin teamed with TxDOT to pay for utility relocation and right-of-way acquisition.
“I’m very happy to see the expansion and improvements to this intersection on this road,” said Goodwin, District 47. “I’m glad to see this all done.”
Capital Excavation Company was the contractor of the 2222 project.
Separately, the RM 620 bypass road opened to northbound traffic in July. The full bypass is expected to be open by early next year.