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Oak Hill Parkway


The October 29 open house had the second highest attendance of the six open houses we’ve held for the project since 2012.  Turnout at the recent open house, held at Covington Middle School, was 157, only five less than attended the open house in June 2014.

“We are excited to see such a strong interest in the project and all the meaningful input people have given us,” said James Williams, TxDOT project manager.  “With their engagement in the process, the community is shaping this project and making it better.”

Topics discussed at the open house included:

  • An update of the proposed project designs, known as Alternatives A and C
  • Draft evaluation criteria for the third phase of alternatives analysis
  • An update on design and ideas for Context Sensitive Solutions
  • Recent Water Quality Workshop information, including off-site water detention

The October 29 open house allowed the public to study an update of alternatives to improve mobility and safety along the US 290/SH 71W corridor.

The Oak Hill Parkway team received 139 official comments on the project during the comment period. Comments included general support, “build it ASAP,” and thoughts on roadway aesthetics and landscaping. Other comments included concerns about toll financing, elevation, and environmental effects.

The comments are currently being reviewed by the project team. They will become a part of the official Oak Hill Parkway Open House Comment and Response Report. When finalized, this report will be posted on the project website at

Public outreach will continue in 2016 with stakeholder workshops. In addition, project team members will meet with neighborhood associations, community groups, and other interested parties upon request. During this time, the project team will be implementing phase three of the alternatives evaluation to determine a recommended preferred alternative. The draft environmental study and the recommended preferred alternative will be presented to the community at a public hearing.

Attendees at the October 29 open house were able to visit one-on-one with Oak Hill Parkway staff members to discuss possible mobility and safety improvements.


Nearly 100 more visitors viewed the Oak Hill Parkway virtual open house October 29 through November 9, 2015 compared to the one in January 2015.  Visitors also nearly doubled their viewing time, spending an average of five minutes per session. The virtual open house had 2,190 page views. We’re pleased that this virtual experience was helpful for many who may not have had a chance to visit with us one-on-one at the open house meeting.


We received 100 Oak Hill Parkway surveys as part of the October 29 open house.  The survey took a deeper dive into getting your feedback on elements of the project and the process we are following. As a result, we can report out a snapshot of how respondents feel about our efforts to improve long-term mobility in Oak Hill.

Survey highlights included:
Learn more at

  • Differing opinions on what the priorities should be as the project design continues to be tweaked, i.e. the proposed elevations, potential impacts to trees, size of the project, funding sources
  • While many respondents expressed support for the depressed lanes included in Alternative A, as it would help minimize the noise and visual impact, others expressed concern that depressed lanes would allow potential flooding
  • Some participants suggested Alternative C would be easier to navigate, was less likely to flood, and would result in a smaller roadway footprint, while others were concerned about the elevation of Alternative C and the visual impact it could have
  • Most comments regarding the No-Build Alternative expressed how it would be unacceptable to “do nothing” to address traffic congestion, while others feel the new continuous flow intersections have provided a suitable solution to the area’s congestion problem

Other survey responses revealed:

  • Support for the phase three evaluation criteria
  • Support building whichever alternative can be constructed fastest and at lowest cost
  • Concerns regarding toll financing
  • Support for keeping and protecting a natural landscape
  • Support for transit opportunities
  • Support for water quality projection
  • Support for bicycle and pedestrian facilities and connecting them with existing ones
  • Concern that the proposed build alternatives are too similar and limit choices

A more detailed summary of the survey results is being developed and will be posted on the project website at


Often times we’re asked, as improved long-term mobility is being studied in Oak Hill, is there a commitment to environmental sensitivity?

The answer is YES! The Oak Hill Parkway project team always takes the environment, both human and natural, into account when proposing solutions. Our team of engineers, planners, and scientists review all of the alternatives and perform robust analyses to determine which would best meet the purpose and need of the project.
The project team is aware of the importance of the oak trees to the community and commissioned a tree survey to accurately capture the potential impact to trees in the corridor. This tree study will be done well ahead of the completion of the environmental study and will supplement final design activities.  Please note that TxDOT and the Mobility Authority are sensitive to the value of the natural environment, but some trees would need to be removed to address the congestion issues in the corridor and provide safe driving conditions.

We are coordinating with the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation and an arborist at the city of Austin to identify opportunities for tree preservation. Of note, the Grandmother Oak, the Grandfather Oak, and the Niece Oaks will be close to the proposed roadway, but we are looking into ways to avoid or limit impacts. The Beckett Grove Tree, previously known as the Taco Bell Tree, will not be impacted.

If approved for construction, the project will include an aesthetics plan that incorporates the addition of new trees and vegetation in the project area.

Other times we’re asked, is the Oak Hill Parkway being proposed as a toll road?

In the CAMPO 2040 plan, as well as previous versions of the plan, the Oak Hill Parkway project is designated as a toll road. But that does not mean this project has to be tolled. If funding sources become available to pay for construction and maintenance of the Oak Hill Parkway project, and the region prioritizes spending that money on the Oak Hill Parkway, it would not need to be tolled.

It is important to note that the proposed design would be essentially the same if it was to be built without tolls. 

Tolling is simply a creative financing mechanism that allows communities to bond transportation improvements and pay back the bonds and ongoing highway maintenance with user fees, or tolls. Tolling is similar to other fees for public uses such as entrance to swimming pools, emergency services, car registration, parking meters, air traffic service, entrance fees to local, state and national parks, and court fees.

It’s important to remember that drivers would have a choice whether or not to use the tolled or the improved and expanded non-tolled travel lanes. Public transit and emergency response vehicles have non-tolled access which encourages ride sharing and improves emergency response times.
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