CR 179 widening to start in January
By Rachel Rice LEANDER — A contract to widen County Road 179 from 20 to 45 feet and add a turn lane and bike lanes has been approved by the Leander City Council, and City Engineer Wayne Watts said he expects construction to begin in January and continue for nine months.
City Manager Kent Cagle said the city staff wanted the road to be striped with a center turn lane and bike lanes rather than as a four-lane road.
“Our current thinking is, with the level of traffic and the number of turns, you’ve got people making left turns into Stiles, and it’s better if the turn is protected,” Cagle said.
In addition to widening the road, the city plans to add streetlights along the road and a traffic light at its intersection with Ronald Reagan Boulevard. A sidewalk will be added to the south side of the road, and a bridge is to be built across Brushy Creek.
“This will be an actual bridge across Brushy Creek,” Watts said. “Some culverts there are subject to overtopping and flooding and such. This will be a real-deal bridge and will replace existing culverts not adequate to carry stormwater.”
The City Council awarded the project to Chasco Constructors Ltd., which bid $3.89 million. Including maintenance and materials, the project will cost a total of $4.28 million.
The city has made an agreement with Williamson County and the Leander school district to pay for the needed road improvements.
The county has agreed to pay a fixed amount of $1.5 million, and the remainder will be split between the city and the school district. The city expects to pay about $1.8 million, with the district picking up the remaining $1 million, according to city documents.
Watts said the road expansion was necessary because of the newly opened Florence Stiles Middle School and anticipated growth.
“The school there acts as a magnet to residential development and consequential commercial development on the corners,” Watts said.
Developers Gehan Homes and Meritage Homes have started making plans for single-family residences to be constructed along the county road, said development services director Jim Bechtol.