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Author Topic: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free  (Read 1575 times)

MaxConcrete

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https://www.statesman.com/news/tolls-removed-the-oak-hill-expansion-project-gets-new-life/lGSNtDFvM5q79M3GPi1dwL/
http://www.oakhillparkway.com/

This project has been delayed seemingly interminably. When I lived in Austin in the late 1990s, right-of-way was cleared and construction seemed imminent. But 20 years later there has been no work on the main project (only some minor improvements at the Y intersection), due to both funding shortages and opposition. In the meantime, the Y intersection has become a traffic nightmare.

The project has been slated to be tolled for a very long time. The good news is that now it is designated as toll-free, but it is not yet fully funded.

There were two remaining options under consideration, A and C, which differed mainly in the alignment west of William Cannon Road, where a wooded area needed to be preserved. The selected A option places the main lanes on elevated structures over the frontage roads.

Quote
Tolls removed, the Oak Hill ‘Y’ expansion project gets new life

The Oak Hill tollway project, delayed for a generation, has been rejuvenated — and with the tolls removed.

Last fall’s sudden clampdown on toll projects by state officials, it appears, may have laid the groundwork for moving forward a highway expansion that seemingly had stalled. Paying for the project, however, could still be a challenge.

“It wasn’t just on the back burner,” said Terry McCoy, Austin district engineer for Texas Department of Transportation, on Wednesday. “It was off the stove entirely.” Construction could begin as soon as 2020, McCoy said this week.

McCoy said the project already had $62.5 million allocated to it as a toll project, and that his district can put another $125 million into it, for a total of $187.5 million. Still, construction will cost an estimated $400 million, McCoy said, with another $150 million needed for purchasing added right of way, completing final design work, relocating utilities and overseeing construction.

The added right of way will consist of about 75 acres spread across 80 parcels, McCoy said, with an estimated cost of $26.5 million.

“We’re still looking to fill that funding gap,” said McCoy, who added that removing the toll aspect “opens up the funding streams that were not available before.”

“I’m hopeful that between now and the time we break ground that we will have cobbled together enough (funding) to do the whole project at once.”

The alternative, he said, would be a first phase of building only the frontage roads, followed by the expressway lanes in a second phase. However, it is not clear if such a first phase would improve the clogged traffic on U.S. 290 and Texas 71 in the area....

longhorn

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 11:24:14 AM »

Its about time!!!! :spin:
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 02:21:58 PM »

Will the new freeway end a short distance West after the "Y" intersection or will it extend at least some significant distance farther West? IMHO the US-290 freeway should be extended at least out to Dripping Springs. They ought to at least be widening US-290 farther West of Austin into a 4 lane frontage road style highway with a median able to hold a future freeway.

Quote from: news article
The alternative, he said, would be a first phase of building only the frontage roads, followed by the expressway lanes in a second phase. However, it is not clear if such a first phase would improve the clogged traffic on U.S. 290 and Texas 71 in the area...

It's pretty clear that frontage roads alone won't improve the traffic situation. Even if the frontage roads in the first phase were built with 3 lanes in each direction (adding capacity above the existing 4 lane road) the traffic would still back up due to all the at-grade intersections with other unimproved streets as well as lots of driveways.
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Chris

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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 03:04:06 PM »

Will the new freeway end a short distance West after the "Y" intersection or will it extend at least some significant distance farther West?

The schematic shows the freeway continuing 2.3 miles west of the SH 71 interchange, ending at South View Road.

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 01:45:03 AM »

That is just barely past another "Y" split at Circle Drive. It's not even halfway to Dripping Springs. Meanwhile the pace of growth and development in Austin is going like gangbusters. The Austin metro has grown past 2 million in population (with the city limits population about to crest 1 million), more than large enough to justify its own East-West freeway corridor. And US-290 is the most obvious path for that corridor West out of Austin towards I-10.

At the very least TX DOT needs to secure ROW for US-290 and a future freeway out to at least Rimrock Trail just short of Dripping Springs. That's where a western expansion of the TX-45 toll road would eventually dovetail into US-290. Then a bypass will have to be mapped out for Dripping Springs.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 09:56:12 PM »

At the very least TX DOT needs to secure ROW for US-290 and a future freeway out to at least Rimrock Trail just short of Dripping Springs.

I agree, but it appears a future freeway extension is not going to happen.

TxDOT is soliciting for a consultant to widen the existing highway to route 12 in Dripping Springs. The documents say the planning is to widen to six lanes with minimal right-of-way acquisition.
https://www.txdot.gov/business/consultants/architectural-engineering-surveying/meetings/050318.html

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 12:20:01 PM »

Pretty short-sighted on their part not to try to gain any additional right of way. The Austin metro area now has over 2 million people. That's more than enough to justify a full blown east-west Interstate corridor. As the Austin area continues to grow long distance traffic will only continue to increase on the US-290 corridor. The zone between Austin and San Antonio has some of the fastest growing cities in the nation (San Marcos, New Braunfels). With living costs in many parts of the coasts reaching new levels of insanity I expect the growth in Texas to continue at least until living costs in the Lone Star State reach the same absurd levels.

If the pace of development continues like what's happened in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area over the past 20 years those cities will merge together. Then I-10 will desperately need a relief corridor. In the past Texas has done a fairly good job of staying ahead with its roads. Now it's getting harder with an influx of anti-roads groups and lawmakers sabotaging road funding methods in order to pander to voters with tax cuts.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2018, 11:38:48 PM »

The official request for consultants is now posted for the section west of the imminent project, and it has very good news.
This is project 3503, which is a downloadable zip file. https://www.txdot.gov/business/consultants/architectural-engineering-surveying/advertised-contracts.html

The right-of-way is slated to be widened to 420 feet, obviously intended for a future freeway. This will be a major right-of-way event, widening the existing corridor by around 300 feet for 12.8 miles.

From the document DRAFT ENG SRVC.pdf

Quote
US 290 from RM 12 to RM 1826, a distance of approximately 12.8 miles. The project consists of 2 CSJs: 0113-08-087 & 0113-07-070. US 290 currently consists of a single roadbed carrying two lanes in each direction with a center left turn lane for most of the distance. The proposed improvements are to construct a six lane divided highway with a wide non-paved median. The existing right of way (ROW) for the corridor varies, but is usually less than 150’ wide. The proposed highway is anticipated to need a ROW width of 420 feet.

texaskdog

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 11:46:39 PM »

The road out through Fredericksburg is pretty sparse, though they should straighten it to run south of 290 and eliminate the jog
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2018, 11:58:10 AM »

I've never heard of Farm to Market roads being referred to as a "RM" abbreviation. Nevertheless Google Earth Street View imagery shows them listed like that on street name style signs in the Austin area.

I hope TX DOT doesn't run into too many road blocks for acquiring the ROW on US-290 to the FM-12 intersection in Dripping Springs. But I do think they'll have to create some kind of new terrain bypass at that point.

Quote from: texasdog
The road out through Fredericksburg is pretty sparse, though they should straighten it to run south of 290 and eliminate the jog

I'd certainly like to see that big jog eliminated where US-290 joins US-281 and goes North to Johnson City. Getting out to Fredericksburg any the route of any new Interstate quality route would have some interesting choices where to merge with I-10. The most obvious is just improving existing US-290 to its merge point with I-10. That would certainly be the straightest route between I-10 and Fredericksburg. But if this freeway were to bypass Fredericksburg and Johnson City to the South it might put the merge point with I-10 closer to Kerrville. There's quite a bit more development in that town and it might benefit from having a closer freeway quality connection to Austin.

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mvak36

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2018, 04:41:27 PM »

I've never heard of Farm to Market roads being referred to as a "RM" abbreviation. Nevertheless Google Earth Street View imagery shows them listed like that on street name style signs in the Austin area.


I think RM means Ranch-to-Market, IIRC.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 05:17:37 PM »

I've never heard of Farm to Market roads being referred to as a "RM" abbreviation. Nevertheless Google Earth Street View imagery shows them listed like that on street name style signs in the Austin area.

I hope TX DOT doesn't run into too many road blocks for acquiring the ROW on US-290 to the FM-12 intersection in Dripping Springs. But I do think they'll have to create some kind of new terrain bypass at that point.

Quote from: texasdog
The road out through Fredericksburg is pretty sparse, though they should straighten it to run south of 290 and eliminate the jog

I'd certainly like to see that big jog eliminated where US-290 joins US-281 and goes North to Johnson City. Getting out to Fredericksburg any the route of any new Interstate quality route would have some interesting choices where to merge with I-10. The most obvious is just improving existing US-290 to its merge point with I-10. That would certainly be the straightest route between I-10 and Fredericksburg. But if this freeway were to bypass Fredericksburg and Johnson City to the South it might put the merge point with I-10 closer to Kerrville. There's quite a bit more development in that town and it might benefit from having a closer freeway quality connection to Austin.



heading eastbound I would run it just on the south side of Johnson City with a freeway interchange at 281, then have it angle SE back into where 290 is now
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2018, 11:28:05 AM »

I've never heard of Farm to Market roads being referred to as a "RM" abbreviation. Nevertheless Google Earth Street View imagery shows them listed like that on street name style signs in the Austin area.


I think RM means Ranch-to-Market, IIRC.

It's RM in the Hill Country, FM pretty much everywhere else.
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txstateends

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2018, 04:36:02 PM »

I've never heard of Farm to Market roads being referred to as a "RM" abbreviation. Nevertheless Google Earth Street View imagery shows them listed like that on street name style signs in the Austin area.


I think RM means Ranch-to-Market, IIRC.

It's RM in the Hill Country, FM pretty much everywhere else.

...with a few exceptions to both here and there.
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Cameron918

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2018, 12:24:17 PM »

There is a brand new medical building in the right of way, the building would have to be knocked down and replaced in a new location, or the road design would need to be changed. It's just a preliminary drawing.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2018, 02:41:46 PM »

There is a brand new medical building in the right of way, the building would have to be knocked down and replaced in a new location, or the road design would need to be changed. It's just a preliminary drawing.

Are you referring to the single-floor building on the north side of US 290 between South View Road and Thunderbird Road? (It looks like it was just being completed in the Google maps view dated Nov 2016).

According to the 2017 schematics, the building appears to be just outside the planned right-of-way, but nearly all the parking lot would need to be taken. If the parking lot can't be relocated and the building must be cleared, the cost should not be prohibitive.

But, it does seem like a case of mismanagement to let that building be built, if it is in fact the new building you are referring to.

MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2018, 07:31:46 PM »

TxDOT is soliciting for a general engineering consultant for this project, which is normally done when construction is fairly imminent (within one year). So this is a very good sign that this project will *finally* begin construction in the near future.

https://www.txdot.gov/business/consultants/architectural-engineering-surveying/meetings/102618.html

Quote
The purpose of the pre-solicitation meeting is to inform the consultant community of the upcoming solicitation to procure one general engineering consultant (GEC) specific deliverable contract for US 290 at Oak Hill Parkway for the Austin District.


Also, the Texas Transportation is slated to provide authorization to seek proposals for making this a design-build project. It usually takes around a 9-12 months for the design-build selection process, but since this project is relatively simple compared to most design-build projects, it could go faster.

See item 8: http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2018/0927/agenda.pdf

Quote
Consider authorizing the department to issue a request for qualifications to develop, design, construct, and potentially maintain the Oak Hill Parkway Project, consisting of non-tolled improvements along US 290 from approximately Circle Drive to Loop 1 and non-tolled improvements along SH 71 from US 290 to Silvermine Drive, and including the reconstruction of the US 290 and SH 71 interchange, in Austin and southwest Travis County (MO)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 12:25:48 AM by MaxConcrete »
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2018, 11:21:11 PM »

Video, item 8
http://txdot.swagit.com/play/09262018-892

The project has been authorized for design build. However, the proposal submission process is going to take a long time - more than a year. The project is not particularly complicated so the long proposal period is unexpected. Maybe more time is needed for right-of-way acquisition, and they are giving proposers an extra-long period while ROW is acquired.

Estimated cost: $467 million
RFP Issuance: Dec 2018
Proposal deadline: September 2019
Contract Award: October 2019
Work starts: 2020
Completion: early 2024

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2018, 10:33:59 PM »

2024? It would be nice if TX DOT could simultaneously get the ball rolling for other improvements West of that project area along or near the US-290 corridor. The Austin metro is big enough to justify its own East-West Interstate quality corridor (even if it terminates at I-10 on both ends). The region is adding population at a dramatic pace. The question is how best to push a new superhighway out to I-10. The Oak Hill Y project looks like it will now be built toll free. But what about a new highway going the rest of the way to I-10?
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