AUSTIN (KXAN) — Drive by the intersection of Wells Branch Parkway and Heatherwilde Boulevard during rush hour, and you’ll see cars lining the surrounding roads at a standstill.
“This is every day,” Tammy Pride said, pointing to what seemed like an endless line of vehicles. “It backs up for miles and miles.”
The Pflugerville neighbor drives into Austin and uses the intersection daily.
“This whole intersection,” she paused and simply said, “something needs to be done here.”
The intersection divides Austin and Pflugerville, as well as parts of Travis County’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. It’s a busy area with booming growth.
At present, there are no current developments along the intersection within the City of Pflugerville, according to city officials.
However, the City of Austin’s Emerging Projects Interactive Map shows four developments near the intersection designed to accommodate up to around 10,000 living units, including single-family homes and multi-family units.
“As economic development happens, traffic grows,” Upal Barua with Austin Transportation Department said. “That’s the nature of the beast.”
The booming growth concerns Pride. Barua explained the steps the city’s transportation department takes to mitigate traffic issues and that includes conducting traffic studies to analyze the road, infrastructure, traffic counts or speed.
Transportation officials work with developers to conduct traffic studies depending on the size of the developments. If a development adds 2,000 daily trips to an area, a developer must conduct a traffic study to determine what improvements need to be made.
“Improvements can be built by developers if they’re responsible for 100% of that improvement or if they’re not 100% responsible they pay a mitigation fee in lieu to the City to construct the improvements,” Barua said.
City officials said this must happen before a developer receives a development permit or a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) of the development.
Traffic study results expire after five years. At that point, if a developer does not develop the site within that timeframe, the city said developers will need to update their study if and or when they do come in to develop their site again. After that, developers will have a deadline on when they have to make those traffic improvements.
City officials said on average, usually take four weeks to a few months to complete. At present, there are over 300 traffic studies underway in Austin with 120 tied to developments. Traffic studies could lead to several improvements including new sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic signals and turn lanes.
Barua said drivers having issues in their neighborhood should file a service request with the city’s 311 department.