Welcome to the Steiner Ranch Area Emergency Access Route Project Virtual Open House. The purpose of this virtual open house is to provide a brief summary of the project and present design elements on the selected Route B.
After the historical regional impacting wildfire event in 2011, Travis County, first responders and the Steiner Ranch (SR) community collectively agreed to pursue an additional route out of the Steiner Ranch neighborhood. Many factors were considered to arrive at the selection of Route B including access to RM 620 and "choke points" within the Steiner Ranch community.
The goal of the overall project is to 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.
In 2018-2019 Travis County analyzed more than 12 vehicular evacuation routes to find an additional emergency exit out of the Steiner Ranch area to RM 620. 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. During the analysis process to gather input and feedback, the project team also held two public open houses to discuss progress and details of the routes analyzed. Each of the 12 route options was reviewed regarding emergency event effectiveness, land/easement acquisition, environmental constraints and project cost.
All routes crossing the river were ruled out due to cost, disturbance to existing residential homes along Quinlan Park Road and protected habitat.
photo credit: Heather Valey https://naturefix.net
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 shown above.
photo credit: Instagram. @staplehawk
Two routes remained feasible through the analysis phase, Route B and Route F. Travis County was not able to identify funding for Route F (estimated total cost $7.2 million), therefore, a recommendation to approve moving forward with Route B (estimated total cost $650,000) was presented to Travis County Commissioners Court on July 19, 2019.
After extensive study and review and consideration of feedback, on July 19, 2019, Travis County Commissioners Court approved moving forward with Emergency Route B. Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources staff has been working with the design engineer, M&S Engineering, and will continue to work with the Montview Acres, Hidden Valley and Montview Harbor neighborhood as we continue the design of Route B.
The paving system is still in design. The systems Travis County are reviewing include a pervious paving systems to allow rainwater to enter the ground as it currently does. These systems are appropriate for this area to preserve integrity of the open space yet provide a drivable surface capable of carrying the weight of emergency vehicles. This is the a typical pavement section under consideration for this route.
The permeable paving systems that are under review currently include (but are not limited to) RainCrete and TrueGrid. Truegrid, when fully installed, would appear to be a grass.
The Project webpage, www.traviscountytx.gov/tnr/public-works/Steiner-Ranch-Area-Evacuation-Route-Design, contains additional information regarding the history and progress of this project. Travis County will continue to update the webpage with schedule and information regarding the project as we move forward.