Ronald Reagan Boulevard, situated in Williamson County, plays a pivotal role as a corridor in the burgeoning northern region of Austin, Texas. However, the community had been grappling with a surge in accidents at the intersection of Ronaldo Reagan Blvd, Silver Spurs, and Sun City Blvd. Originally constructed as a two-lane roadway, the existing configuration was unable to cope with the escalating traffic demands, necessitating its eventual expansion into a six-lane roadway to facilitate improved traffic flow.
The rapid growth of the community, recorded at 4%, has resulted in a 6% increase in local traffic. Consequently, immediate measures are required to curb the number of accidents and enhance traffic flow. As the area continues to expand, bringing forth job growth, increased mass transportation, additional housing, and local businesses, the demand for safe and efficient roads will continue to rise. Collaborating closely with the county and GEC staff, we embarked on preliminary traffic analysis and finalized plans for these bond-funded improvements.
To expedite the process and deliver comprehensive analysis and recommendations, we harnessed emerging technology and adopted industry best practices. By efficiently managing schedules, maintaining frequent team communication, and leveraging company-wide staffing resources, we succeeded in providing our recommendations within an unprecedented two-month timeframe. Traditionally, such a process would have taken up to seven months. This resourceful approach enabled WSB to create efficiencies, paving the way for groundbreaking on the project to commence in the fall of 2020.
Furthermore, Williamson County, located north of Austin, experienced rapid growth that necessitated careful management and infrastructure improvements. The Sun City subdivision, situated on the outskirts of Georgetown, had two entrances on Ronald Reagan Blvd, resulting in increased traffic and a rise in accidents as residents entered and exited the neighborhood. Compounded by the roadway’s high speed limit of 60 miles per hour, addressing safety concerns at the intersections was paramount.
WSB was approached by Williamson County to undertake two primary tasks: conducting a safety feasibility study and developing Plans, Specifications, and Estimates (PS&E) to implement safety and traffic flow enhancements based on the study’s findings. The safety study conducted by WSB resulted in several key recommendations to improve Ronaldo Reagan Blvd’s safety and traffic flow:
- Widening of roadway shoulders
- Implementation of a deceleration lane at one of the subdivision entrances to help those entering the neighborhood
- An added acceleration lane at one of the subdivision entrances to help those entering the neighborhood
- Installation of a flashing beacon over the intersection to alert drivers to left turns and merging traffic.
- Illumination at one of the Intersections
Despite the project’s critical importance to the safety of Williamson County residents, a challenging timeline was in place. However, WSB, worked closely with the county, successfully completed the project within approximately four months, a remarkable achievement considering similar projects of this magnitude typically take six to eight months. The completed project, which opened in early 2021, significantly improved safety and traffic flow along Ronald Reagan Blvd, supporting Williamson County in managing its growing population and increasing traffic demands in the area.