Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"It would take Williamson Creek and turn it basically into a concrete ditch."

Highways 290, 71 might become tollway


By: Reagan Hackleman
TWEAN News 8 Austin
Copyright 2006

His view includes Downtown Austin, the shell of the AMD building and Highways 290 and 71.

For 30 years he's had a bird's eye view of growth in Oak Hill. With that growth, comes lots of traffic.

"You're looking at 30 minutes to get through here in rush hour," Strange said.

The Texas Department of Transportation has a solution, six elevated lanes through Oak Hill just east of U.S. Highway 290. Also included in the plan is a 50-foot flyover at the "Y."

"It will solve our problems out here. I just wish they built it 15 years ago," Strange said.

Not everyone in Oak Hill feels the way as Strange. If TxDOT builds the elevated lanes, three of them would run above a portion of Williamson Creek.

"It would take Williamson Creek and turn it basically into a concrete ditch," Karon Rilling said. Rilling represents the group Fix290 at Tuesday night's meeting about the toll roads.

"We do not want a double-decker toll road with a 50-foot fly over," Rilling said.

Fix290 does have an alternative plan. Instead of the elevated toll roads, they propose a six-lane parkway that won't affect Williamson Creek.

"It would be nice if we never had to cut another tree down, but people going into town and out need a way to go to work," Strange said.

Strange thinks the best way to do that quickly would be the elevated tollway, even if it changes his view.

© 2006 TWEAN News 8 Austin: www.news8austin.com