The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been evaluating the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a project to reconstruct and widen US 290 from approximately the east end of Circle Drive to Loop 1 (MoPac) and SH 71 from US 290 to Silvermine Drive in Travis County. This project area is referred to as the Oak Hill Parkway project.
*Project Status Update: May 2020
The Texas Transportation Commission approved a conditional award for a design-build contract to construct the Oak Hill Parkway project. Colorado River Constructors was selected as the design-build contractor and will complete the final design and construct the highway at the intersection of US 290 and SH 71 in Oak Hill. The project includes three mainlanes in each direction along US 290, as well as two to three frontage road lanes in each direction. Flyovers will be built at the US 290 and SH 71 intersection, where the mainlanes of US 290 would be depressed, or go under SH 71. Construction is expected to begin in late 2020.
Proposed Project History
- August 22, 1988 – Record of Decision (ROD) issued for a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering improvements to US 290 and SH 71 from RM 1826 to FM 973. The mid–section of the original project limits, between east of Williamson Creek and Riverside Drive, has been completed.
- July 12, 2004 – CAMPO approved amendments to their 2030 regional transportation plan establishing an area–wide system of toll roads. Under these amendments, the US 290/SH 71 West corridor from west of RM 1826 to east of Williamson Creek could be tolled.
- Summer 2005 – TxDOT presented designs for US 290/SH 71 West corridor from RM 1826 to east of Williamson Creek. Public input resulted in several design changes to better serve the community.
- November 16, 2005 – In a letter to TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), several groups including Save Our Springs, Save Barton Creek Association and the South Windmill Run Neighborhood Association jointly requested that a full EIS be completed for the US 290/SH 71 West project that included the TxDOT designs as well as a design that was created during an alternatives evaluation process.
- Spring 2006 – Fix290, the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods (OHAN), and the Oak Hill Business and Professional Association (OHBPA), with assistance from the City of Austin, proposed a Context Sensitive Solution for Oak Hill. The CSS proposal was for a ground level roadway design concept. TxDOT conducted meetings with stakeholders and held CSS Open House Meetings.
- Spring/Summer 2007 – TxDOT participated in seven meetings with Fix290 and other stakeholders that were facilitated by the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas School of Law. These meetings were held to discuss different design options being prepared by TxDOT. No consensus was reached during this mediation.
- August 15, 2008 – A Notice of Intent (NOI) was published in the Federal Register announcing TxDOT’s intent to prepare a limited–scope Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for US 290/SH 71 West through Oak Hill. Due to funding constraints, this limited–scope SEIS was halted.
- July 2011 – The Mobility Authority, in partnership with TxDOT, hosted the Green Mobility Challenge, a sustainable design competition that challenged Texas’ most creative landscape architects, planners and engineers to propose better ways of constructing, operating and maintaining future transportation projects, including the intersection of US 290 and SH 71.
- Spring 2012 – In an effort to reduce congestion within the US 290/SH 71 West corridor, TxDOT, in cooperation with the City of Austin and Travis County, proposed to improve mobility at five intersections within the study area by constructing interim intersection improvements. Click here for more information.
- July 2012 – A rescission of the 2008 NOI to prepare a limited–scope SEIS for US 290/SH 71 West through Oak Hill was published in the Federal Register and the Texas Register.
- October 2012 – NOIs were published in the Federal Register and the Texas Register announcing TxDOT’s intent to prepare an EIS for US 290/SH 71 West through Oak Hill.
- May 2018 – TxDOT and the Mobility Authority published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for agency and public comment. The project is now proposed as a non-tolled roadway.
- December 2018 – TxDOT published the Final Environmental Impact Statement and received a Record of Decision in support of the Build Alternative.
- May 2019 – TxDOT received approval of the EIS Re-Evaluation No. 1
- February 2020 – TxDOT received approval of the EIS Re-Evaluation No. 2
Texas has been aggressively acquiring private land through condemnation for transportation projects across the state to accommodate the needs of a growing population. If you have been contacted by TxDOT or any of their representatives, please contact us immediately. The important thing to remember is that even if you’ve received a letter in the mail from a condemnation entity informing you of their intentions, this does not mean that it’s a done deal. There are many ways to influence the condemnation process to ensure that your wants and needs are met, but it’s important that you involve knowledgeable professionals that can help guide you through the process.