Fleshing Out The Creek Bend Extension

Posted in 2008 Primary, Commissioners Court, Election 2008, Precinct 1, Road Issues, Round Rock, Williamson County at 12:35 pm by wcnews

After posting last week on the candidate forum with the Commissioner candidates in Precinct 1, EOW received this email:

What the News 8 report apparently failed to mention is that both other candidates in the Pct 1 commissioners pointed out during the forum on Tuesday night that Commissioner [Lisa] Birkman voted for an interlocal agreement between Williamson County and Round Rock to participate in the Creek Bend extension, and that the county gave Round Rock $3 million for the project. That county resolution was passed in November of 2007, and Mike Grimes had a copy of it at the forum. Birkman continued to insist that she didn’t vote for the extension and that no one told her not to vote for the interlocal agreement.

In effect the comment above is correct, but there is some “wiggle-room” for Birkman, but local residents don’t appear to be buying it. The Creek Bend Extension, referred to above, is actually two separate projects, although they are inseparably linked:

  • Improvements to Wyoming Spirngs Dr., from RR 620 to Creek Bend.
  • Extending Creek Bend Blvd. from Creek Bend Circle to Wyoming Srpings Dr.

These two taken together will provide a seamless path between Sam Bass road to the north and RR 620 to the south. When viewing the project map it’s pretty clear that there would be no reason to improve Wyoming Springs if the increased traffic, that will ultimately come with the Creek Bend extension, does not occur. Here’s some background from a KVUE report back in October 2007:

The project has two parts to it. Both have been on the books since the mid-1980s, but some residents are just now finding out about it. It will bring a lot of change to the Fern Bluff area. That’s why a group of residents wants city leaders to put the breaks on the project.

Most of the traffic rolling up and down Wyoming Springs and Brightwater Drive is limited to those who live in the area. Gina Warrington wants to keep it that way.

“We feel very run over,” said Warrington.

Warrington is part of a group worried this area will become a congested western highway bypass for the city of Round Rock.

“We are opposing it because it is a huge public safety issue for us,” she said.

Right now Creek Bend Blvd. is a dead end road. But, in less than two years, the barriers will be gone.

The construction project fills in a missing part to what will be a major transportation artery. It will link Old Settlers Blvd. and Sam Bass Rd. to RR 620. Along with a lot of new pavement, a new bridge over Brushy Creek will be built. Wyoming Springs will be wider — from two to four lanes.

That increased traffic is what has gotten local residents incensed about this project. Especially since an elementary school, Fern Bluff, is on Wyoming Springs Dr. and is causing many parents to question this project.

The vote in question occurred at the October 16, 2007 Williamson County Commissioners Court meeting. The WCCC voted unanimously vote for an interlocal agreement with the the City of Round Rock for the Wyoming Springs Dr. improvements, and according to the minutes Birkman made the motion, (see WCCC minutes 10/16/07, pg. 11, [.PDF]). Then on November 8, 2007 the Round Rock City Council voted to accept the interlocal agreement. In the minutes it was stated that the Wyoming Springs Dr. improvements are “In conjunction with the City’s project to extend Creek Bend Boulevard..”, (see RRCC minutes 11/08/07, pg. 14, [.PDF]).

Although these are two separate projects, for all intents and purposes, they are, as anyone can see above, one project. And one does not make sense without the other. Those with intimate knowledge of the project(s) tell EOW that there is no question that Birkman’s vote for the Wyoming Springs expansion, and the $3 million from the county, is the same as voting for the Creek Bend extension. Residents in the area certainly see it that way. But Birkman’s statement that she hasn’t “voted for the extension” is technically true. She’s only voted for the Wyoming Springs improvements. Even though it’s clear that one without the other makes little sense. Birkman’s concerns these days appear to be more about getting roads built than about how the roads that are built will effect the local communities where they will be built.

The email above points out the fact that News 8 did not report on this issue. That’s true, and it should have been. But in EOW’s opinion, News 8 deserves much credit for showing up and reporting on this forum, which is more than can be said for any other local media.

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