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FM 1431 Open House Feb. 21 2012Residents look over maps of the proposed road improvements with TxDOT and city staff.
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FM 1431 open house Feb 21 2012 photo 2Residents look over maps of the proposed road improvements with TxDOT and city staff.
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FM 1431 Road Construction ImprovementsThe stretch of FM 1431 being considered for improvements runs from Toll 183A to Sam Bass Road.
Dozens of Cedar Park residents attended an open house Feb. 21 aimed to address questions regarding improvements to FM 1431.
The open house—hosted by the City of Cedar Park and the Texas Department of Transportation—offered a forum for city and TxDOT staff to explain the anticipated construction on FM 1431 between Toll 183A and Sam Bass Road. The improvements to FM 1431 would add a raised median to separate traffic directions, add a sixth lane and also build turn bays in select areas, eliminating a center turn lane.
“This area has seen a lot of growth in the last five or six years, and this project has been on the radar a lot longer than that,” TxDOT spokesman John Hurt said, adding he thought most people at the open house just had some questions about the project. “There has been no real groundswell of opposition, and considering the positive impact it will have on traffic, I don’t anticipate a lot of opposition.”
A handful of residents from the Sweet Farms neighborhood, located on the eastbound side of FM 1431 near Sam Bass Road, attended the open house to voice safety concerns about the intersection of Raley Road and FM 1431. The proposed plan allows no safe left turn for drivers leaving the neighborhood and no deceleration lane, Sweet Farms resident Frank Riha said.
“We would love a light that turns left onto FM 1431, but we would also accept a U-turn up the road before you get to Sam Bass,” Riha said. “If this happens as-is, we will probably start shopping towards I-35 because it’s not worth risking our lives to make a left turn towards Cedar Park.”
Cedar Park Engineering Director Darwin Marchell said the plans are still in preliminary phases, and construction can commence only after an environmental assessment, which includes an analysis of socioeconomic effects and impacts on natural resources. TxDot and the city will hold at least one more meeting following the environmental assessment, he said.
“The environmental document will cover the area between Toll 183A and Sam Bass Road, but the limits of construction will be west of Parmer Lane near Market Street and East of Sam Bass Road,” he said.
Marchell said if the environmental assessment is approved, road crews can begin restriping FM 1431 where the asphalt is already wide enough for six lanes, between Toll 183A and Cotton Creek Trail. He said the city maintains all of the right of way along the stretch of FM 1431 being considered for improvements.
The City of Cedar Park will front the $23 million project, and TxDot will repay the city up to 80 percent of the cost over the next decade or so, Hurt said.
“This type of pass-through financing allows an entity like a city or a county to pick projects they want to have done right away,” Hurt said. “And it works out for us because TxDOT pays that back over time.”
Hurt said improvements to FM 1431 could begin as soon as October 2013.