Wyoming Springs Segment 1 – FM 3406/Old Settler’s Blvd to Brightwater Blvd/Creekbend Blvd
This project consists of extending the existing Wyoming Springs Blvd from Creekbend Boulevard at the south end to Old Settler’s Boulevard at the north end. This roadway will be a new 4-lane divided arterial roadway with off-street shared use paths. The road will clear Hairy Man Road and Dry Fork creek as well as create a path that intersects with the existing hike and bike trail along Hairy Man Road. There are some extenuating environmental issues that will need to be resolved for the project to move forward. Environmental clearance and design are anticipated to be completed in 2023 with construction beginning in 2024.
The first public meeting was held from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2020 at the Fern Bluff MUD Community Center. A second public meeting was held on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 from 5-7 p.m. at the Fern Bluff MUD Community Center. A survey was also available online at publicinput.com/wyomingsprings2.
We thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most common questions/comments here on the project page. You can also review the full set of questions and comments received, as well as the project team’s responses.
Why move forward with this project? Is it really needed given the Creek Bend extension that was completed in 2017?
The Wyoming Springs Extension provides a needed, additional north-south crossing of Brushy Creek. A limited number of crossings results in additional traffic on FM 3406, Sam Bass Road and RM 620 as motorists travel those roads to access I-35 to get north and south. While the Creek Bend extension has certainly helped, additional crossings are needed to accommodate current and future traffic flows.
The most recent traffic counts on Wyoming Spring at Brightwater Blvd are 2,277 vehicles per hour at peak travel times, and we anticipate that to double by 2040. Our traffic models estimate the average daily traffic count along the new roadway to be 7,600 in the year 2023 when we anticipate opening the road and then nearly doubling to 15,000 by the year 2040. Those projections clearly show the need to add capacity to our roadway network at that location.
As was noted at the Open House, the extension of Wyoming Springs has been in the City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) since 1999; the last update of the plan was completed in 2017. The master plan projects future traffic counts by looking at growth patterns and the types of development (commercial, residential, etc.) that will occur. By planning for the ultimate growth of the City, the plan establishes the ultimate roadway network to meet future transportation needs.
The TMP and all significant updates were developed through an extensive public input process and adopted by City Council. Subjectively omitting segments of arterial roadways from the Ultimate Roadway Network in the TMP would have adverse impacts on that network and to the citizens and community that use this roadway network. In short, it would force traffic onto other roads not designed to handle the additional traffic.
Many comments suggest the City simply not approve future development projects, thus negating the need for expanding the roadway network. In general, the City is bound by State and Federal law to protect private property rights. More specifically, we are legally obligated to issue permits that comply with our zoning and adopted development regulations. If we refuse to issue permits that comply with these requirements, it is considered to be a “taking” of private property. This means that we would then be obligated to pay the landowner full fair market value for their property. The purchasing of private, vacant land on a large scale to avoid development is not financially possible in terms of land cost and loss of tax base. The City’s role in private development regulation is to ensure it meets our quality standards and the public health, safety and welfare are protected.
Trees and the preservation of the canopy on Hairy Man Road
We agree Hairy Man Road is a unique corridor. Its location along Brushy Creek and the presence of the popular regional trail make it special. Impacting this area is not something the City takes lightly; it’s the need to build our roadway network to accommodate our growing population that makes this project absolutely necessary. The project will minimize impacts to existing trees, where feasible, by:
- Aligning the roadway to avoid as many trees as feasible
- Following existing ground profile
- Using retaining walls and tree wells to limit embankment on root zones.
We will do our absolute best to mitigate the impact on the existing canopy. That said, trees will be taken down in the process of building the road. It is unavoidable.
Environmental and endangered species concerns
Because the City draws water from the Edwards Aquifer, we have a vested interest in ensuring the project does not pollute groundwater supplies. Water quality and the aquifer are regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and this project will meet or exceed the requirements for water quality in the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program which will include preparing a Water Pollution Abatement Plan for review and approval from TCEQ.
Regarding endangered species: The City’s consultant team includes an environmental consultant with experts in threatened and endangered (T&E) species who have performed similar studies on many other area projects. The team is coordinating the project with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the federal agency that regulates and reviews projects for compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The Jollyville Plateau Salamander is one of the T&E species being evaluated by the environmental team. The USFWS will issue a determination based on their review of the results of the studies.
Increased traffic next to Fern Bluff Elementary
This issue will be evaluated independently of the Wyoming Springs project. The crosswalk and pedestrian-activated flashing yellow lights at Wyoming Springs and Cloud Peak Lane was a solution agreed upon by City and Round Rock ISD officials, including representatives from Fern Bluff Elementary, when the roadway was expanded in 2010.
Population growth and traffic are occurring regardless of whether Wyoming Springs is extended/connected, so many of those trips that would use Wyoming Springs are currently using Creek Bend and then waiting in multiple signal cycles to turn left from Creek Bend onto Wyoming Springs, which results in driver frustration, U-turns west of Wyoming Springs and other unsafe results.
The City and the school district are in regular communication about traffic safety issues at campuses throughout Round Rock. We will continue to work together to address any issues that arise from increases in vehicular traffic.
What about noise and light pollution?
The current plan includes street trees, but the City will consider additional screening for noise. The city will work to direct the streetlights onto pavement, to minimize light spillage/pollution to adjacent properties. Noise barriers are normally solid wall-like structures built between the noise source (roadway) and the impacted activity area to reduce noise levels. They are usually constructed of concrete or masonry. Barriers can also be formed from earth piled into a large mound or berm. Though natural in appearance, berms require a large area of right-of-way to reach the height required to be effective.
Noise barrier design and implementation is a complex process that includes considering:
- Appearance and ability to blend in with the surrounding environment
- Adequate visibility around noise barriers to ensure motorist and pedestrian safety
- Potential restriction of views or feelings of confinement
- Potential loss of air circulation and/or sunlight
- Reasonable cost of construction and maintenance
- Avoidance of utilities and easements
- Desires of the public