A proposed intersection that would be the first of its kind in the Austin metropoltan area could help curb increased traffic along one of Cedar Park’s busiest corridors.
City, county and state officials have proposed building a continuous-flow intersection, or CFI, at FM 1431 and Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard to help traffic flow more smoothly, said Sam Roberts, Cedar Park assistant city manager. The CFI system would increase traffic capacity and boost the life of the intersection, he said.
A dedicated left-turn signal would allow vehicles to cross the street to a dedicated left-turn lane on the far side of the road before completing the turn at a second traffic signal—meaning motorists driving straight would not be stopped behind the cars turning left.
Roberts said the proposed intersection expansion is still under consideration, and construction would not begin until 2014.
“A final decision will be made in the coming months, but engineering analyses show this to be a promising prospect,” Roberts said.
The intersection upgrade would fall within a larger 2-mile-long project on FM 1431 from Sam Bass Road to just past Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard. The City of Cedar Park would fund the $17 million project before being reimbursed by TxDOT through the pass-through finance program, which repays project costs based on the number of vehicles to use the improved corridor each year, Roberts said.
“The $17 million project already calls for what I would call a conventional widening of the intersection with turn lanes all the way around,” Roberts said. “We already plan to do that, but what we are learning is that for a fairly small increase in price, CFI will increase the capacity of this intersection significantly.”
This would be the first such intersection in the Austin area, said John Wagner, TxDOT area engineer for the CFI project.
“It’s kind of a new concept,” he said. “I know there’s some other areas down in San Antonio, but in our area, we don’t have one on the ground working yet.”
This specific intersection is ideal for the CFI arrangement because of the volume of traffic that turns primarily from westbound FM 1431 to go south on West Parmer Lane, Wagner said. The alternative, he said, is a conventional six-lane system.