A short-term improvement for a chronically clogged intersection in southwest Austin is one step closer to becoming reality. Travis County Commissioners voted today to contribute $1.5 million for renovations to the “The Y” in Oak Hill -- the area where highways US 290 and SH 71 converge.
The City of Austin is kicking in $2.6 million for the $4.7 million project that will be carried out by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“I think people should be really excited about this,” Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber said. “It will help.”
However, she also warned that construction will cause some temporary traffic headaches for the next year-and-a-half or so. “No pain no gain,” she said. “We have to work through that.”
This project will be rolled out in two stages. The first phase will focus on the intersections of US 290 with Convict Hill Rd. and US 290 with FM 1826. Both intersections will get new turn lanes, wider shoulders and bike lanes. Access to Austin Community College’s Pinnacle Campus will be improved.
Construction on that phase is scheduled to start this summer and last four to six months. But first, TxDOT has to conduct an environmental assessment report.
The second phase will bring “continuous flow intersections” to US 290 intersections with SH 71, William Cannon Drive, and Joe Tanner Lane. Basically, left-turning traffic takes a route off the main thoroughfare before the intersection, which makes it easier for engineers to time lights and keep traffic moving.
It’s probably easier to understand continuous flow intersections by watching this animation from the Utah Department of Transportation.