Voters said they wanted it and Mayor Dale Ross and Georgetown leadership listened, recently unveiling plans to stay on top of Georgetown’s mobility issues.
Having asked citizens in a recent survey about top priorities, the City’s data show the top concerns are traffic and growth-related pressures, specifically vehicle congestion, infrastructure and roads, and managing our growth. Mayor Ross said, “Traffic is the top concern I hear about when I’m out in the community. We hear you loud and clear.”
Mayor Ross has outlined his plans and processes for maintaining existing roads, new road construction, and how the City plans to fund the projects.
Today, the City has a growing and complex road network totaling 341 lane miles, which surveys indicate are appropriately maintained. The PCI (pavement condition index) is measured regularly, and the city’s goal is to maintain a minimum of 85 PCI. Our current index is 86.
Most street maintenance occurs in the summer; ongoing hot-in-place recycling and resurfacing through the remaining warm months. Additional street resurfacing projects include a high-performance surface seal treatment, which is expected to begin later this month. All street maintenance efforts are designed to ensure our roads remain in good shape by applying the right treatment at the right time to maximize the useful life of our streets, and to minimize costly rehabilitation work.
The Mayor adds,”The street maintenance work schedule can be affected by weather conditions, mechanical issues, and product availability. For updates on the paving schedule and a complete list of projects, visit transportation.georgetown.org/2019-street-maintenance-projects.”
New Construction and Improvements
Rivery Boulevard extension: This road extends Rivery Boulevard to the north from Williams Drive to Northwest Boulevard. Construction on this 2015 bond project began last summer and will be completed later this summer. The new four-lane road will provide an alternative to Williams Dr and offer another route in the busy area around Williams Dr and I-35. The road also provides a link from I-35 to the Rivery conference center and retail area, and connects to a planned new bridge over I-35 at Northwest Blvd.
Northwest Boulevard bridge: The Northwest Blvd bridge project extends from Fontana Dr. to Austin Ave. and includes a new bridge over I-35. The bridge will be a new east-west connection over the interstate, and an alternative to Williams Dr. This 2015 bond project connects with Rivery Blvd to the west and FM 971 on the east. Construction is expected to begin late this summer. The City hopes to complete this bridge before the Texas Department of Transportation begins work on the new Williams Dr. bridge in 2021.
FM 971 realignment: FM 971 will be realigned from Austin Ave eastward to Gann St. in order to connect with the Northwest Blvd road and bridge project. This will allow FM 971 to link to Northwest Blvd and become an east-west connection across I-35. Design work for this 2008 road bond project should be completed this summer.
Widening Roads: Responding to a top priority for residents, the 2020 budget includes mobility projects that widen Leander Rd. from Norwood Dr. to Southwest Bypass, and widen Southwestern Blvd from Raintree Dr. to SE Inner Loop. Both projects were approved by the voters in 2015. The City is also widening Inner Loop from Austin Avenue to FM 1460.
How do we pay for it?
The Mayor says there are several funding sources that help ensure the City can fund street maintenance. First, a quarter cent of our sales tax is wholly dedicated to maintaining roads. The quarter-cent sales tax is reauthorized by the voters every four years and generates about $3.5 million annually for street maintenance.
There is also a half-cent sales tax that funds the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation (GTEC). GTEC has helped build many roads in Georgetown to further economic development, including the Airport Road expansion completed earlier this year, and the Mays Street extension connecting Teravista in Round Rock to Westinghouse Road in Georgetown. GTEC is also funding the Inner Loop widening project.
Finally, voter approved bonds are a major source of revenue to ensure the City can build much needed corridors around the community. “I am very thankful the voters approved the $105 million bond package for new transportation projects in 2015,” Ross says. “That election authorized the City to plan, design, or construct 20 transportation projects over ten years. Thanks to the good work of our city team, we are on track to complete the bulk of these projects in just seven years.”
Georgetown leadership will continue to direct significant resources to mobility through city bond projects, and they are working with Williamson County and state and federal transportation agencies for other regional transportation projects. Mayor Ross assures citizens he is confident the City will be prepared for the current and future growth.