TxDOT breaks ground on long awaited Oak Hill Parkway project
“This is not just a groundbreaking. It’s a celebration.”
- J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Texas Transportation Commission Chairman
With the turn of shovels, the Texas Department of Transportation officially began construction on the Oak Hill Parkway project last Thursday. Decades in the making, the Oak Hill Parkway project will accommodate current and future growth by adding lanes for drivers traveling through Oak Hill, as well as frontage roads for local traffic. The project will also remove traffic signals on the mainlanes, construct flyovers between US 290 and SH 71, and construct bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
“It’s taken more than 30 years of planning. Thirty years of discussing and talking about a traffic solution for this area,” said J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Texas Transportation Commission chairman. “We’re here today because it’s time to stop planning to do. It’s time to do.”
The Oak Hill Parkway project is part of the Texas Clear Lanes initiative aimed at addressing the biggest chokepoints on state highways. At US 290 and William Cannon Drive, traffic volume has increased by nearly 50% since 1990.
“The Central Texas region has desperately needed the Oak Hill Parkway project for decades,” said Ashby Johnson, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization executive director. “This project can’t come soon enough to support the tremendous growth in Hays, Burnet, Travis and Blanco counties.”
The Oak Hill Parkway project will also include 15 miles of paths for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Chief Jeffery J. Wittig of the Oak Hill Fire Department said, “Minutes and seconds save lives. As TxDOT works to compete their mission of improving mobility and safety, we’ll work to maintain response readiness. Thanks to TxDOT for this project for the betterment of the community and those who travel through it.”
TxDOT will also be working closely with emergency service responders in the corridor during construction.
Former Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said, “This will be the most pivotal project this part of town has witnessed, perhaps maybe ever. We all knew we were going to do a good project here - this community demands that. We know this project is something we are all going to be proud of and it is so needed.”
Oak Hill Parkway is the right-sized project to meet the traffic demand along the corridor today and best manages the traffic projections of tomorrow.
“During the decades of project planning, TxDOT listened to the community and implemented input where feasible,” said TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson. “As a result, this community-focused design addresses the mobility and safety needs along with community values.”
The $674 million non-tolled Texas Clear Lanes project is expected to complete in early 2026, weather permitting. The design-build contractor is Colorado River Constructors.
About 7 miles of state-of-the-art roadway improvements along US 290 and SH 71 in southwest Austin
Full reconstruction of the US 290 / SH 71 “Y” interchange to include two new flyovers
New cross street configurations along US 290 at Convict Hill Road, RM 1826, Scenic Brook Drive and Circle Drive (South View Road)
15 miles of new paths for bicycles and pedestrians
Delivering the Oak Hill Parkway better and faster An innovative construction delivery concept called design-build will be used to improve efficiency during the Oak Hill Parkway project. The process helps TxDOT deliver transportation improvements faster by shifting risks associated with cost and schedule to the design-build team, Colorado River Constructors (CRC).
A design-build team can accomplish different project components concurrently rather than in separate phases. For Oak Hill Parkway, CRC will handle project design, coordination of utility relocation and roadway construction.
Since CRC will perform construction, their teams can identify small design changes early in the planning process, making it easier and faster to build transportation improvements.
After studying the project for several months, CRC has identified several ways to optimize efficiencies and create potential savings of more than $5 million, by:
Adding a bypass lane for westbound US 290 frontage road drivers accessing Circle Drive; no need to stop at the Scenic Brook Drive traffic signal
Moving the shared-use path design at the “Y” out of the floodplain for safer bicycle/pedestrian mobility in a rain event
Providing better driveway access during and after construction by improving SH 71 frontage road surface elevations
Improving the design for those on bike and on foot crossing the new bridge over Convict Hill Road
Partnering with the City of Austin to coordinate future tie-in work between Oak Hill Parkway and their William Cannon Drive improvement project
Improving ramp merge points near the “Y” intersection
Reducing the duration of bridge construction and associated lane closures by combining multiple overpass structures at intersections west of the “Y” with consolidated bridge design
Mitigating construction noise for neighbors by re-sequencing work to design and construct sound walls early in the schedule
Overall, the community will benefit from the design-build process through:
Design modifications to mitigate right-of-way constraints
Real time adjustments to traffic plans, improving detours for the traveling public
Efficient coordination with government entities and private companies on utility relocations
Coordination with new adjacent developments under construction to optimize improvements
Collaboration with adjacent property owners regarding driveway options and improvements to access