WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A new chapter was released Wednesday in the plan to keep traffic moving in the greater Austin area. The Project Connect plan focused on the north corridor, an area extending from Georgetown, Round Rock and Pflugerville, and down into Austin.
The region is the fastest growing in the nation, and the traffic woes along Interstate 35 are proof of that.
In 2009, the Texas Department of Transportation’s traffic counts showed 161,000 drivers each day drove the stretch of I-35 between Pflugerville and North Austin. Three years later, that count rose to more than 177,000 per day.
And the traffic problems will get worse unless some solutions get into gear now. An average commute from Round Rock to Austin currently takes about 40 minutes. With the current transportation, that time will increase to more than two hours within the next 20 years.
A bus transit plan is in the works, but locals want more options.
“Primarily what you see in the northern corridor is buses,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw. “The reason for that is right now we don’t have the density to support the trains that you see like in downtown Austin.”
The plan, still unfunded, would connect buses between high flow intersections in Georgetown, Round Rock, Hutto and Pflugerville to an existing web of bus lines in North Austin, and then into downtown.
Some think the focus should be shifted elsewhere.
“More trains,” said Craig Daus. “It seems like if we had more trains we could get people in and out faster.”
Funding for the $164 million project is still being discussed, but all options to cover the cost are on the table.
The study also shows half the population in Williamson and Travis Counties will live by the I-35 corridor north of Austin in the year 2035.