RTG led the environmental studies, schematic development, and ultimate PS&E design effort for this $79M project to construct four miles of new location 4-lane tollway with adjacent shared-use path, adding four direct connectors (DC’s) at existing Loop 1, four bridge widenings, two new overpasses, a stream crossing at Bear Creek, and a bridge over a sensitive karst feature. Project stakeholders included the City of Austin, Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Travis and Hays Counties, and countless neighborhood associations. Resource agencies included the TCEQ, USFWS and FEMA. The project scopes included environmental studies, public involvement, alternative evaluation and development, preliminary engineering design, field survey, hydraulic studies, traffic engineering, schematic development, PS&E development and construction phase services.
This project, located over the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, also includes Flint Ridge Cave, the 5th largest cave in Travis County located within the project ROW. This required the consideration of numerous Federally listed species (karst invertebrates, aquatic salamanders, and songbirds) during the initial environmental clearance and subsequent reevaluation, as part of an extensive NEPA and public involvement process. Gaining environmental clearance for this project required a large-scale coordination effort from the entire team, as well as numerous stakeholders and resource agencies. RTG’s design minimized impacts and protected water quality throughout the project limits through the use of several innovative techniques.
RTG successfully delivered the PS&E and the project was opened to traffic during the Summer 2019 on time and within budget. The project has been touted as a model for environmental protection strategies, receiving the 2019 Environmental Champion Award from the Austin Chamber of Commerce and a 2020 ACEC Texas Engineering Excellent Gold Medal Winner for Environmental and Silver Medal Winner to Water Resources.