ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Two cities are working together to create a seamless frontage road along State Highway 45 West.
Round Rock and Pflugerville would like to fill in a missing piece of the frontage road, so that Donnell Drive and Heatherwilde Boulevard would finally be connected. Action this week could help clear the path for that expansion.
On Thursday night, the Round Rock City Council will vote on advancing a revenue study on the frontage road that’s worth about $62,000. Pflugerville is planning to cover half that cost.
If this resolution is approved, the Texas Department of Transportation would then work to find out how the potential expansion of the frontage road would affect revenue on the tollway.
Drivers currently have to either get onto the tollway at Heatherwilde Boulevard or make their way through several neighborhoods to access Donnell Drive.
Gary Hudder, the transportation director for the City of Round Rock, said the revenue study could result in several outcomes.
“It could be that they’ll tell us we just can’t construct them,” Hudder said. “It could be that they’ll tell us that we can, and [Round Rock] and Pflugerville will bear the cost for that construction. It could be that if there’s a revenue issue that needs to be resolved, there could be some language as to how to resolve that.”
Hudder could not say right now if the two cities might have to reimburse TxDOT for any revenue that might be lost on S.H. 45 if the frontage road is extended.
Brad Wheelis, a spokesperson for TxDOT would only say Wednesday, “This is a city of Round Rock-led project. If the city approves funding for a traffic and revenue study, TxDOT will conduct it.”
Round Rock city leaders said this project would help alleviate traffic concerns and congestion in the area, while it could benefit future development in the area between their city and Pflugerville.
Kristen Parkhurst has lived in the Bradford Park neighborhood off Donnell Drive for almost 11 years. She said extending the frontage road would create a great change for her and her neighbors because the current layout leads to unnecessary delays and confusing routes.
“We have to go wind through the neighborhood,” Parkhurst said, “and it’s really a hassle to avoid getting on the toll for one exit.”
Round Rock City Council members will vote on approving the study at their meeting Thursday evening.
That revenue study is expected to take up to six months to complete.
KXAN asked TxDOT why this particular frontage road on State Highway 45 was never built. A spokesperson told us there was no existing road in this area before the toll road was there, so there was no need for a frontage road.