From Carol who is in touch with the situation:
The Bull Creek Bridge project has been funded, approved and in the schedule for years. It has been delayed because of a couple of bureaucratic hiccups between TxDOT and the City of Austin. The project was contracted in August and is now underway.
There are state rules and guidelines for bridges such as the one at RM 2222 and Bull Creek, and that bridge has been earmarked for replacement for some time. Remember that RM 2222 is a state highway and is therefore largely under the control of TxDOT. Under state rules, if the bridge is modified, it must be raised to be above the 100-year flood level. That means raising the bridge about 18 feet. This was not an arbitrary decision, it is state-mandated.
2222 CONA met with TxDOT in March of 2005 and requested a series of traffic and safety improvements be made to RM 2222. One of the concerns was the intersection of RM 2222 and Loop 360. As a result of our prodding, TxDOT is making several improvements to the intersection as part of the bridge replacement project. Most of the improvements will not be fully realized until the project is completed, but there will be some relief provided even during the project.
You may have noticed that TxDOT is working on the eastbound right-turn lane onto southbound Loop 360. Before one of the eastbound lanes is closed down next year, this additional right-turn lane will be in place, and queuing will begin farther west. This will help separate out the traffic which is turning onto southbound Loop 360.
Also, TxDOT is adding a second left-turn lane onto northbound Loop 360. Again, the queuing will begin farther west of the intersection, so that by the time the traffic is under the Loop 360 overpass, there will be 4 dedicated lanes, two turning north and two going straight.
As part of the bridge project, there will be a left-turn island at Lakewood Drive, which will help alleviate the back-ups in the left lane of eastbound RM 2222. There will be other improvements to the intersection for westbound traffic.
I realize we are in for two years of pain. I live in Long Canyon, and RM 2222 is the only outlet for our neighborhood. We don’t have any alternate way to get anywhere. I’m certainly not looking forward to the traffic snarls we will experience. But there is simply no way around it. We need the improvements to the intersection at RM 2222 and Loop 360, and TxDOT needs to replace the bridge. At least we will end up with some long-lasting improvements when the pain is over.