AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Oak Hill “Y” will look much different over the next few years as the Texas Department of Transportation is set to break ground on a major construction project Thursday.

The Oak Hill Parkway Project will accommodate future growth by adding U.S. 290 travel lanes, removing traffic signals on the main lanes and constructing flyovers between U.S. 290 and State Highway 71.

TxDOT says this project will improve safety and mobility along six miles of 290 and 1.2 miles of 71.

“We reached capacity in 1995, so this roadway was meant to handle 37,000 vehicles. And we hit that number a long time ago,” said TxDOT spokesperson Brad Wheelis. “We have nearly doubled the amount of vehicles since that time, so we need to address the issue.”

Not everyone is in favor of the project. There are groups that are worried the environmental effects could be devastating to the legacy oak tree’s, creeks and endangered species that live nearby.

Beki Halpin-Moved to Pflugerville: “For us listening to that it would take years for them to finish that,” said Beki Halpin who moved to Pflugerville to get away from the area. “We just weren’t interested in staying there while they did all that construction and tore down the trees we love so much.”

The $674 million Texas Clear Lanes project is fully funded. Construction is anticipated to complete in 2025-26, weather permitting.

Two lawsuits were filed against TxDOT because of the project. One suit was brought up because of endangered species that could be impacted while the other not only looks at the environmental impact, but also changing the design of the parkway.

“The NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) action basically says the TxDOT environmental impact study statement is deficient that they did not take into account all the environmental impacts they should have before they engage in a project of this magnitude,” said attorney Bill Gammon. “We feel like we are on sound footing on that one.”

The project will also add 15 miles of new paths for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Groundbreaking for the Oak Hill "Y" project July 1, 2021 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
Groundbreaking for the Oak Hill “Y” project July 1, 2021 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)