TxDOT studying Parmer Lane, but relief years away

Possible expansion could be in the works for Parmer lane in North Austin and Cedar Park.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Improvements could be years away on Parmer Lane between Ranch to Market Road 1431 and State Highway 45.

The road stretches from north Austin into Cedar Park and Leander.  Drivers are worried because they said the area has outgrown the road with new schools opening and neighborhoods — along with additional businesses being built.

Joel Alson said he doesn’t deal with the traffic nightmare anymore.

“With some back roads that have opened up, I’ll try to avoid Parmer like the plague,” he said.

During rush hour some drivers explained that they easily can add up to 20 minutes to their commute.

The Texas Department of Transportation is studying Parmer Lane. Plans could include expanding the roadway to three lanes in each direction. Engineers will also decide if turn lanes are needed along with more traffic lights.

Drivers say relief should have already been in place, but the study alone isn’t expected to be complete until the summer of 2020.

“With more growth it’s just going to be worse,” said Alson. “You have more development out in Leander, and more people are going to be coming into town driving on Parmer. It will be worse.”

TxDOT says these types of studies usually take about two years because they involve environmental studies and public meetings. The area includes Cedar Park with a population just under 71,000.

A spokesperson with the city of Cedar Park said they will provide input to TxDOT during the design phase of the project.

“Providing one additional lane in each direction is presumed and is important to increase the roadway’s capacity,” said city spokeswoman Jennie Huerta. “However, making key operational improvements on the side streets of the main signalized intersections is also important to minimize the time needed to serve those streets and also minimize the delays for Parmer Lane drivers.”

“I’m watching it grow and it’s only been a year and some change. It can be a nightmare,” said Chiraq Mehta, who lives in the area. “It needs to be done, and it needs to be done soon.”

Once the study is complete, construction is expected to start in the fall of 2021.

TxDOT is covering the cost of the study, which is expected to be $2.5 million. Construction is expected to cost $35 million to $40 million.

The city of Austin is paying $17 million from its mobility bond money for construction. The city’s funds will be used on the portion of Parmer Lane that is within the Austin city limits.  TxDOT is looking for funding for the rest.

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