Oak Hill Parkway Open House summary report
Public comments received during the official Oak Hill Parkway Open House last October are now available online. Interested citizens provided 139 comments on the refined alternatives for the Oak Hill Parkway project and Context Sensitive Solutions, the collaborative approach to transportation design and engineering. The open house summary and comment/response report is available here.
Your input is important to us! Design changes due to public comment at this open house include adding transit bus pull out locations and realigning the US 290 intersection with William Cannon Drive to save trees. Public input also added the following items to the final evaluation criteria:
- The number of Shared Use Path at-grade crossings to minimize conflicts between pedestrians/bicyclists and motorized vehicles
- The length of control of access* to be acquired by TxDOT
- The change in length of access in and out of neighborhoods
- The number of large oak trees taken by the project
*Control of Access is where TxDOT may legally prohibit adjoining property access to or from a roadway to prevent potential conflict points with other travelers, thus improving safety.
Environmental Study update
As we enter into the detailed analysis phase, designs for both Alternatives A and C continue to be refined as a result of community input. We are conducting a robust analysis of the two Build Alternatives and the No Build Alternative, to determine the preferred alternative.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue working with the community on additional tree measures, proposed landscaping and context sensitive structure design, Williamson Creek enhancements, funding, potential noise impacts, and other environmental issues.
We’ll keep you updated via future editions of this e-newsletter. If you have any questions or would like to request a presentation, please contact us.
Oak Hill Parkway project environmental document timeline.
Archeologists to study Oak Hill Parkway right of way
Like most of Central Texas, the area surrounding the Oak Hill Parkway project has a rich archeological and historical record. It is a history that TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission are committed to evaluating and protecting, under the Antiquities Code of Texas and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Residents and travelers in the Oak Hill Parkway area may soon notice archeologists in safety vests excavating small test holes, picking up and studying artifacts such as glass fragments, bricks, pieces of chert (flint) used for toolmaking; writing notes; and taking photographs along the right-of-way.
Dr. Chris Dayton at Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc. (CMEC), part of the Oak Hill Parkway team, will lead cultural resources survey efforts for the environmental study within areas of proposed right-of-way and easement acquisition along US 290 and SH 71 in 2016.
Dr. Dayton has investigated prehistoric and historic-age archeological sites in many different areas including pre-Roman sites in the Mediterranean, a Greek settlement in Ukraine with some of the world’s earliest evidence of democratic government, northeastern U.S. colonial settlements, a major ceremonial center in highland Bolivia, complex canal systems in Peru, and more than 100 projects in Texas. Dr. Dayton, who holds a doctoral degree in prehistoric archeology, oversees CMEC’s cultural resources, which includes five archeologists, two historians, and a historic architect. His team has cultural resources contracts with TxDOT and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Project team historians will soon be conducting a survey of historic-age building and structures in the Oak Hill area. Formerly Live Oak Springs and Oatmanville, Oak Hill contains prominent landmarks such as the late-nineteenth-century Old Rock Store (now Austin Pizza Garden) and Marx Ranch, as well as more subtle features such as mid-twentieth-century developments associated with the area’s dramatic population increase after World War II.
Members of the public with concerns, observations, or contributions regarding archeological sites, artifacts or historic-age buildings in and near the Oak Hill Parkway project area are encouraged to contact us.
No Build Alternative
We are often asked to explain the meaning of the “No Build Alternative.” In addition to Alternatives A and C, the No Build Alternative is also considered per federal regulations and serves as a baseline for comparison. When the environmental study is completed, if neither Alternative A or Alternative C is advanced, US 290 and SH 71 will remain as they are today with routine maintenance continuing over the next 30 years. This is called the No Build Alternative.
Travel times will increase approximately 25-35 minutes over today, and safety and mobility would continue to decline in the Oak Hill area as population increases. Additionally, the proposed bicycle/pedestrian facilities and upstream detention ponds would not be constructed.
The No Build Alternative also assumes that all other projects in the CAMPO 2040 Plan would be constructed if environmentally cleared and funding is identified, including proposed improvements to MoPac south of Lady Bird Lake and proposed improvements along FM 1826 south of US 290. For more information about the CAMPO 2040 Plan, please click here.
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