City, county work to improve roadway
University Boulevard between Sunrise Road and Seton Parkway is getting a makeover from Williamson County and the City of Round Rock in the coming months, which includes a complete renovation of the road and three new traffic signals.
Because Williamson County owns University Boulevard, the county is paying for the rehabilitation of the road, which includes fixing the base of the roadway and relaying the asphalt. The county gave the contractor permission to start May 7.
“Where the pavement has failed, where you’ve got all the big ruts and heaving and so forth, asphalt will be cut out, and the contractor will actually go into the subgrade [roadway foundation], and they will rebuild the road, in essence, from the subgrade up,” said Gary Hudder, City of Round Rock transportation director.
Hudder said the damage to and shifting of the roadway was caused by the condition of the soil under the road, which was compounded by the drought and heavy truck traffic during the construction of Toll 130.
Connie Watson, Williamson County public affairs manager, said a minimum of one lane in each direction will be open for traffic while the work is taking place, and most often two lanes in each direction will be available for vehicles to use.
The City of Round Rock will fund the repaving of University Boulevard. After the $1 million project is complete, the City of Round Rock—which is responsible for $490,000—could assume maintenance of the roadway to A.W. Grimes Boulevard.
The section of University Boulevard between I-35 and Sunrise Road is already within city limits. Hudder said the city is considering annexing the portion of the road from Sunrise Road to A.W. Grimes Boulevard into city limits.
“As development continues to occur along roads that are owned by a different interest, like in this case the county, the City of Round Rock is reaping the benefit of those sales tax dollars—the county owns the road, Round Rock controls the property that is along the road,” Hudder said. “So it just makes sense as a good regional partner that we take over the road so that then we are responsible for the [maintenance].”
At the May 24 City Council meeting, Round Rock chose a contractor to place three additional traffic signals along University Boulevard—at Teravista Club Drive, Sandy Brook Drive and College Park Drive.
The city then plans to synchronize the traffic signals along University Boulevard from I-35 to A.W. Grimes Boulevard to better control movement, decrease delays and lower emissions caused by idling vehicles.
In late 2011, the city identified Gattis School Road, Old Settlers Boulevard, University Boulevard and Louis Henna Boulevard as roads to include in a traffic signal synchronization project. So far, the city has implemented the project on Louis Henna Boulevard and will work on the other roads after other projects that affect traffic volume on the roads are finished, Hudder said.
Hudder said plans are to have all the University Boulevard improvements, including the new signals and synchronization, finished by early 2013.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said she has talked to residents along University Boulevard who are looking forward to the completion of the improvements.
“It’s a very necessary project,” she said. “If you’ve driven the road, you can see that it’s in need of some repair.”