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Update for the Steiner Ranch Area Emergency Evacuation Route Project

Travis County Commissioners Court approved moving forward with Emergency Route B in July 2019.  TNR staff will continue to work with the design engineer, M&S, along with First Responders and the Community to fully develop construction plans for the project.  We anticipate completing design at the end of 2020 and commencing construction 2021 through 2022.  We will update this webpage with schedule and project information. The following remains relevant and provides information regarding the process to date:

Steiner Ranch Area Evacuation Route Design Phase

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.

During the initial phase of design 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. Project 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. Any route through the preserve will encounter extreme terrain and fire fuel. 

From this initial analysis phase, two routes remained viable for consideration, routes B and F. A decision had not yet been made to move either route forward.  Route B was fully funded with allocated CO bond funds.  Route F did not have funding beyond allocated CO bond funds.  It was anticipated, we could obtain funding for Route F from CAMPO.  CAMPO funding was and is not available.  

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. 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. Construction costs for Route F are well above CO bond funds available for this project, TNR reached out to determine if CAMPO funding was available.  In light of the improvements CAMPO is planning, Route F could not be added to CAMPO funding plans, therefore, Route F was removed from the list of viable routes.  Route F is included in the Travis County Transportation Blueprint, link is included below.

Route B

Route B is a viable yet less effective route for evacuation when compared to Route F. Route B does not have the same flexibility due to existing road width, turns, and adjacent development. This will reduce the volume of inbound or outbound evacuation traffic. Route B is lower in 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 determine an evacuation route is needed.

Steiner Ranch Evacuation Route Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

TNR is working to complete the design of Route B. A Virtual Open House was produced to allow the community to see our progress and comment on the project.

A few facts about the project:

  1. Over the past months TNR evaluated more than 12 routes with First Responders and the Community.
  2. 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. 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 since funds were not found for Route F. Although Route B does not provide the same level of evacuation capacity, the route is viable, beneficial, and can be constructed quickly with existing funds. 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.
  3. Routes under consideration are located in the NW area of the project limits. This area is advantageous for several reasons: close proximity to RR 620, the ability to move traffic congestion off of Quinlan Park Road, and could provide traffic diversion to the west or east at RR 620.
  4. During an emergency event, the emergency route will be controlled by First Responders.
  5. An evaluation of all the routes, Updated Steiner Ranch Evacuation Route Alternates Map, was made, then summarized in an Evaluation Matrix.
  6. The emergency route will consist of two (2) 10’ paved travel lanes and 2’ shoulders each side, emergency gates located along the route to preclude use other than for an emergency.
  7. Routes crossing 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, Balcones Canyon Land Preserve Map.
  8. Crossings over Lake Austin were ruled out due to extreme costs and terrain issues. A large bluff on the south side of the river makes any bridge structure extremely large and invasive to the existing community. Furthermore, a lake crossings would cross the federally protected BCP lands, which as indicated above is not allowed.

Public Outreach

Stay Updated

By visiting this site often.

Public Communication

To provide comment on the proposed Route B, until May 22, 2020, please use our online feedback form.

Anticipated Timeline*

anticipated timeline subject to change. 2018 is preliminary design phase. 2020 is design phase. 2020 to 2021 is construction phase.

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

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