Update for the Steiner Ranch Area Emergency Evacuation Route Project

Travis County Commissioners Court approved moving forward with Emergency Route B. TNR staff will work with the design engineer, M&S, along with the Community to fully develop construction plans for the project. We will update this site with schedule and information regarding the project. The following remains relevant and provides information regarding the process so far:

During the initial phase of work, Travis County analyzed more than 12 vehicular evacuation paths. The project team worked closely with first responders, the Steiner Ranch Masters Association, the Steiner Ranch Neighborhood Association, the Montview neighborhood and Leander Independent School District. The project team held two open houses to discuss our progress and details of the routes analyzed. Information was presented at community meetings when requested.

All routes crossing the river were ruled out due to cost. Routes to the east and across the river were ruled out due to the inability to cross the protected lands within the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, shown in the Environmental Constraints Map.

From this initial phase, two routes remain viable for consideration, routes B and F. A decision has not yet been made to move either route forward.

Route F

After reviewing feedback from first responders, transportation engineers and long range planners, Route F was determined to be the most effective route for moving emergency vehicles into the community and personal vehicles out of the community. Route F adds flexibility during an emergency event, but Route F is not without challenges including a trail and ecosystem adjacent and within the proposed Route F improvements. If Route F should move forward, Travis County staff will work with the community to preserve the trails and ecosystem. Route F is more expensive than Route B and will take longer to construct. Route F is proposed as an open road for everyday traffic.

Route B

Route B is a viable yet less effective route for evacuation when compared to Route F. Route B will function as a one lane route due to existing road width, turns, and adjacent development. This will reduce flexibility, and the volume of inbound or outbound evacuation traffic. Route B is lower cost and can be built in a shorter time frame. Route B will not be open to everyday traffic, and will be closed and gated until first responders deem an evacuation route is needed.


Effectiveness of any proposed route is based upon predictable traffic volumes and evacuation studies. The Evacuation Traffic Summary Map indicates expected traffic volume during an emergency. Route F can move 100% more traffic out of Steiner in an emergency event and provides a route for inbound emergency vehicles. Route B can move one lane of traffic in or out, not both.

Steiner Ranch Area Evacuation Route Design

The Steiner Ranch Area Evacuation Route Design is a capital improvement project proposed to provide an additional evacuation route out of the Steiner Ranch area neighborhoods. This project is located in Travis County Precinct Two. The proposed funding is by 2017 Certificate of Obligation bonds.

Project Goals

Work with the community to balance needs, priorities and constraints to develop a feasible option that enhances safety and reduces evacuation time for the area.

Project Limits

steiner map

Project Status

Over the past months TNR has evaluated more than 12 routes with First Responders and the Community. A staff recommendation for Travis County Commissioners Court consideration was placed on the July 9, 2019 agenda. On July 9, 2019, Travis County Commissioners Court approved moving Emergency Route B forward. Due to current funding constraints, TNR staff made the recommendation to Commissioner’s Court to approve moving forward with design and construction of Route B as a gated-only emergency route. Although Route B does not provide the same level of evacuation capacity, the route is viable, beneficial, and can be constructed with existing funds in place. TNR also recommends that Route F remain identified in the Travis County Transportation Blueprint.TNR staff believe this a better long-term solution for the neighborhood and may consider proposing Route F for funding through CAMPO when a call for projects is announced.

A few facts about the project:

  • Routes under consideration are located in the NW area of the project limits. This area is advantageous for several reasons: close proximity to RM 620, the ability to move traffic congestion off of Quinlan Park Road, and could provide traffic diversion to the west or east at RM620. Updated Steiner Ranch Evacuation Route Alternates Map
  • During an emergency event, the emergency route will be used and controlled by First Responders.
  • Evaluation Matrix.
  • The emergency route will consist of two (2) travel lanes.
  • Any routes that may cross the Balcones Canyon Land Preserve are not a consideration for this project. Balcones Canyon Land Preserve lands (BCP) are federally protected lands that cannot be crossed with a road and cannot be developed in any way. All BCP lands are shaded in green in the attached map for reference.
  • Crossings over Lake Austin were ruled out due to extreme costs and terrain issues. (there is a large bluff on the south side of the river that makes any bridge structure extremely tall and too costly). Furthermore, these crossings must also cross the BCP lands, which as indicated above is not allowed.

Public Outreach

Stay Updated

Join our mailing list or contact the project team by sending us an email.

Travis County wants to hear from you. If you have any questions regarding the project, or would like to be included in project email communications, please email SteinerRanchEvacRoute@gmail.com.

Public Communication

Want to send comments or ask questions about the project? Please email SteinerRanchEvacRoute@gmail.com or use our online feedback form.

Anticipated Timeline*

anticipated timeline subject to change. 2018 is preliminary design. 2019 is design. 2021 to 2022 is construction.

View PDF version of anticipated timeline.

Funding

Proposed funding is by 2017 Certificate of Obligation bonds.

Project and Area News

Click on the links below to read recent news releases for the Steiner Ranch Area Evacuation Route Design or other construction projects in the area.

Community Impact

Four Point News

Local Television Stations

Helpful Links

Wildfire Preparedness

Evacuation & Wildfire Preparedness Plan

General CIP Information

Steiner Ranch Area Emergency Evacuation CIP General

Travis County Emergency Information

Travis County Emergency Information and WarnCentralTexas.org

Austin/Travis County Community Wildfire Prevention Plan

Austin/Travis County CWPP Viewer

Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

TxDOT RM 620 Improvements

TxDOT RM 620 Improvements

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