TRAFFIC COUNTS , Average daily vehicle trips on US 290 between Convict Hill Road and SH 71 in 2019 , Projected daily vehicle trips on US 290 between Convict Hill Road and SH 71 in 2040 after construction
THE EDWARDS AQUIFER This underground layer of porous rock provides drinking water to more than 2 million people. East of this dividing line is the recharge zone, where precipitation is able to ow directly into the aquifer. The rest of the project is in the contributing zone, where the majority of water runs over relatively impermeable rock.
NEW FLYOVERS The project will include yovers 25 feet high for the interchange between US 290 and SH 71. The main lanes of US 290 will be depressed 18 feet below grade to pass under the yovers.
EAST OAK HILL
WILLIAM CANNON DR.
JAMES A. PATTON BUILDING, FORMER HOME OF THE NATURAL GARDENER AND AUSTIN PIZZA GARDEN
X That is more than
the amount of daily vehicle trips
WEST OAK HILL
have expanded to ve locations in Austin with more planned in Central Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. BrandonHunt saidOakHill has been good to Via 313, and the brothers have no plans to abandon the neighborhood. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to try to weather this storm,” he said. Farther west down Hwy. 290, Lynn Metcalf, co-owner of Metcalf BBQ, is also keeping an open mind. Metcalf BBQ has been renamed—twice—after legal disputes with large national companies, and for the last year, the business has fought to outlast COVID-19. Metcalf said she believes in the long-term future of Metcalf BBQ no matter what. “In my stewardship of this space, I have left a job, gone through two rebrands, survived a pandemic; I’m kind of like, ‘Come on, what else do you have?’ This is a good business; we can do it,” she said. Still, Metcalf said the placement of the exit at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and Circle Drive where her restaurant sits will be pivotal. With a well-placed exit that gives drivers easy access o the highway, Metcalf said “it could be a win.” Without it, she said sales could suer. “I grew up in Texas. I’ve taken so many road trips across Texas. We’ve all driven through those towns where you can see the old highway and the new highway,” she said. “The thriving businesses are on the new highway, and then there are the businesses on the old highway that just don’t make it.” It was the same dilemma Dromgoole faced 30 years ago. Today, although he lives just a few miles away, he avoids the area because of the trac. “We don’t do it. We refuse to go down there,” Dromgoole said. For now though, Metcalf is taking a cautiously optimistic view. When she hears about a $674 million project taking place over ve years, she said, to her that means a lot of construction workers are going to need a place to eat lunch.
MAP NOT TO SCALE N
worse every year since then. While he didnot agreewith every TxDOTdecision, Pruett said he believes neighborhood concerns were taken seriously. “At the end of the day, you have got to be able to move a certain number of cars; I think nally somebody is doing something about it,” he said. Business owners prepare to 'weather this storm' Ever since the mid-2010s, when brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt were looking to expand their popular pizza restaurant to new locations, people in the neighborhood have been talking about the Hwy. 290 road project. The brothers opened their rst brick-and-mortar Via 313 location in Oak Hill in 2015. Since then, they VIA 313 Brandon Hunt and his brother Zane opened the rst brick-and-mortar outpost of the Detroit- style pizza chain in Oak Hill in 2015. “WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. WE’RE GOING TO TRY TOWEATHER THIS STORM.” BRANDON HUNTCOFOUNDER, VIA313
HEB RELOCATION Due to the planned highway work, H-E-B is relocating. Its new 90,000-square-foot store is expected to open in August.
Creek, which crosses Hwy. 290 just east of the intersection with William Cannon Drive. In a symbolic show of support, a group of public ocials, organizations and residents have “adopted” one of the more than 280 trees that will be removed to make way for the project. “It will have horrible impacts. There is no way to have that level of construction, blasting and digging without having an impact on Barton Springs,” Travis County Precinct 2 Commissioner Brigid Shea said. Austin City Council Member Paige Ellis, whose professional background before she was a council member includedmarketing andpublic involvement work for an environmental rm, said environmental advocacy does not end when a shovel hits the ground, and holding TxDOT and its contractor, Colorado River Constructors, to a high standard will be a key priority. “It’s so important to have advocacy at every stage. When people know you’re going to be watching, paying close attention, it makes the construction process better,” she said. Not every Oak Hill resident is unhappy with the current plans. Darryl Pruett has lived in the neighborhood since 2006 and said trac has gotten
“WE DON’T DO IT. WE REFUSE TOGO DOWN THERE,” JOHN DROMGOOLE, OWNER OF THE NATURAL GARDENER AND SOUTHWEST AUSTIN RESIDENT, ON THE Y AT OAK HILL.
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021
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