TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Just feet away from a “No Dumping” sign sits an abandoned couch and recliner chair that was left behind by someone. It’s right next to Hannah Milford’s property on Pyramid drive, and it leaves her frustrated.
“Oh my goodness. It’s nonstop. It’s happening faster than I can clean it up,” Milford explained.
Milford said Pyramid and O’Reilly drives have become a hotspot for illegal activity, such as dumping and squatters. She’s not wrong.
If you take a drive down the rocky, muddy, uneven dirt roads, you will see different types of trash. There are toilets, furniture, and even abandoned cars and RVs that are completely destroyed from the inside out.
Milford bought the piece of land near her home so she could place her small business, a mental health agency, on the property. She plans to operate the business out of a camper, but there are problems.
The two roads are considered substandard and not up to Travis County standards. The roads do not have enough space in some areas for two cars to pass each other, and there is no sidewalk for people to walk or bike down.
Milford said not every car can get down the rocky roads, and she believes the less-trafficked area is leading people to dump their trash.
“I think it’s a hotspot for all this illegal activity because no one is really using this road,” Milford said.
The road connects two schools in the area. Neighbors said it is unsafe for the kids to walk or bike to school down the roads, forcing parents to drive them to school. A school bus would also not be able to get down the roads.
“There are kids who can’t walk to school or ride their bike to school,” Stephanie Fitzharris, a neighbor in the area who has been pushing for the roads to be paved, said.
Neighbors said they want the road paved so they can use it to find another way out of their neighborhood. Currently, there are only two exits and entrances for the people who live in Apache Shores. People in the area said traffic in the morning can be unbearable and easily backup.
Some people worry how it could impact an emergency evacuation situation such as a wildfire.
Law enforcement is pushing for the area to be paved because a even a firetruck would have trouble traveling along the road.
“I can ensure you that law enforcement, and fire and EMS want this road paved,” Stacy Suits, a Travis county constable, said.
Push to put project on bond election
Neighbors are pushing the county to put the road paving project on an upcoming bond election in November. They have plead their case at community meetings with the Travis county bond advisory committee. It’s the committee’s responsibility to recommend the mobility and parks projects that will be on the bond to Travis county commissioners.
The project would cost about $15 million and would create a two-lane road with a separated shared-use path for biking and walking. The project would also allow the county to accept the roads into its system for maintenance.
The advisory board will make its final recommendations to commissioner’s court in June.
The total bond could be around $450 million.
Milford and her neighbors hope they will have the chance to vote on the project in November.
“I absolutely want to clean this area up and make it a safe space for hope and healing,” Milford said.