Oak Hill Parkway Update

TxDOT and the Mobility Authority continue their work to complete the Oak Hill Parkway Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is the most detailed type of environmental document, typically taking an average of 3-5 years to complete. Currently in the fourth year of this study, the Oak Hill Parkway project team is taking measured steps and employing best practices to ensure all evaluations and studies are carefully and sensitively conducted. With that in mind, some of the technical studies are being revised to reflect additional input received from stakeholders and new information contained in the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) 2040 plan. As a result, the environmental workshop we had planned to host this fall has been postponed. A new date for the workshop will be announced as we make progress on those technical studies and more data becomes available.

Public input has been a priority for the project team since we began the study in October 2012. The project team recognizes the importance of a project design that not only meets the mobility needs of the corridor, but is also reflective of community values. We have met with hundreds of stakeholders to date, and we have conducted six open houses, 13 workshops, and more than 60 stakeholder meetings. These discussions have prompted requests for design adjustments and additional studies. The project team has evaluated nine different design concepts and considered multiple suggestions for improvements to both Alternatives A and C, particularly at the US 290/William Cannon and US 290/SH 71 intersections.  We have gathered a great deal of community input throughout the study period and have moved forward with a significant number of positive changes, as a result of this public feedback.

Now that the project alternatives have been narrowed down to two build options (Alternatives A and C), as well as the No Build alternative, we are assessing the potential environmental impacts of all three scenarios. Any additional modifications to the alternatives will be directed by technical reports and analyses. Once those reports are complete, a recommended alternative will be made available for public and agency review.  Following the public hearing, the Final EIS will be submitted to TxDOT for an environmental decision.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to conduct the necessary work to ensure a thorough and complete environmental study takes place, and we will continue to inform you of our progress as we move forward.

The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 16, 2014, and executed by FHWA and TxDOT.

Environmental Studies Being COMPLETED

Multiple environmental studies are being conducted as part of the Oak Hill Parkway project, including the following:

 To learn more about the environmental process, click here.

Protecting historic sites part of Oak Hill Parkway project

A survey to identify and protect historic structures is underway along the Oak Hill Parkway project corridor. This is an integral part of the EIS being conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The historic resources survey will document buildings, structures, objects and sites constructed prior to 1973 on 81 parcels throughout the project area.

Heather Goodson, historic preservation manager with Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc., is leading the survey for the Oak Hill Parkway team. It is being coordinated with the Texas Historical Commission under the Antiquities Code of Texas and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

“Documented resources are being evaluated using National Register of Historic Places criteria to determine if each one is historically significant,” said Goodson.

The National Register evaluation criteria includes:
  • Association with an important event in history
  • Association with a person or persons important in history
  • Distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction; work of a master; or possesses high artistic value
    • This criterion is about a resource’s architecture, engineering, and/or aesthetic characteristics
  • Ability to yield potential information important in history or prehistory
    • This criterion is usually applied to archeological sites
“Consideration is also given to collections of resources with a common history to determine if there is a historic district,” added Goodson.

She said a variety of resource types have already been documented in the Oak Hill historic resources survey, including:
  • Post World War II Ranch houses
  • 1960s mobile home park
  • Early 20th century school building
  • Mid-20th century commercial buildings

Trees, bike/pedestrian enhancements top aesthetics survey

Planting new trees is the top aesthetic budget priority chosen by respondents to an Oak Hill Parkway aesthetic survey this summer.

The survey was conducted in conjunction with an Environmental Workshop held June 23 by the Oak Hill Parkway team. The survey was presented at the workshop and was also available online from June 23 to July 17.

When asked to rank five aesthetic elements listed in the survey, 32 percent of respondents said planting new trees was their top priority, 27 percent listed bike and pedestrian enhancements, and tree relocation ranked third with 19 percent. Landscaping and aesthetic structures ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Regarding their preference for planting styles, 54 percent of respondents said to plant trees in groves, while 45 percent favored a more spread-out “on-center” planting.

The purpose of the survey was to assist the project team with understanding and considering the community’s priorities as aesthetic guidelines are developed for design. Final project enhancements will be determined by financing and other considerations.

To download and review a complete summary of the survey results, please click here.

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