Corridor Construction Program:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the status of the Corridor Construction Program?
On April 26, 2018, Austin City Council adopted the Corridor Construction Program. The design phase of work is currently underway on nine key corridors throughout Austin and could last 12 to 36 months, depending on the corridor. Preliminary engineering activities are taking place now, and we anticipate returning to City Council with more information and to seek their approval to proceed with final design activities in early 2019.
Although you may see workers in the corridors conducting fieldwork and data collection activities, construction is not yet underway. Construction activities will not occur until Austin City Council provides their approval. Construction would begin after the design phase is completed and would be ongoing for several years. The bulk of construction is expected to take place 2021-24.
What kind of activities will occur during the preliminary engineering portion of the design phase?
Improvements in the Corridor Construction Program are at a conceptual/preliminary level. Additional project development, design and engineering must take place before the projects are ready for construction. Activities include:
- Conduct land surveys to gather information about utilities, property lines etc.
- Conduct geotechnical investigations and analysis.
- Develop traffic management plans to mitigate construction impacts
- Conduct ongoing outreach to the community, including corridor businesses, property owners and neighborhoods, as well as across City departments and local agencies. We will coordinate with business and property owners to understand any issues or concerns, and to develop strategies for minimizing impacts that may be caused by the proposed improvements or construction.
- Continue analyzing realities of implementation, like utility impacts, agency coordination, and geographic dispersion
- Finalize corridor design plans
- Refine cost estimates, look for budget efficiencies, and explore leveraging/ partnership opportunities
- Obtain permits for the projects
- Potentially advance some design-only improvements to construction if additional funds are identified
During what hours will work occur?
The majority of activities are expected to occur during daytime hours. The LIDAR surveying (see more about LIDAR below) will mostly occur at night. On rare occasions, it’s possible that other work will occur in the evenings. All work will be completed in accordance with City of Austin noise ordinances.
Will travel lanes be closed?
Most activities to be completed in the corridors during the design phase are expected to have very little impact on the traveling public. However, intermittent single travel lane closures will be needed to perform geotechnical borings (see more about geotechnical borings below). Lane closures would be timed to avoid peak-period travel times.
What kind of activities might I observe on the corridor?
Some of the activities most likely to be observed include topographical surveys, surveys to identify trees and other vegetation, and boundary surveys to help identify right-of-way limits as well as other field work such as obtaining turning movement counts, traffic signal timings, and geotechnical borings. Right-of-way means the City of Austin already owns and/or controls the right-of-way.
What is LIDAR?
LIDAR is a way to learn more about the topography of an area, is being used to inform the design-phase work being conducted for the Corridor Construction Program. LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulse—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system—generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
The equipment generally consists of a vehicle that is equipped with laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver. This work is underway now in all nine corridors, and should be completed this summer. As part of the LIDAR work, you may see small "targets" along the corridors. These are temporary and will be removed once the analysis has been completed.
Why are you drilling holes in the ground?
We are doing geotechnical borings. This is when drill rigs are used to make small-diameter borings (between 6 inches and 8 inches wide) to obtain pavement, soil and rock samples.
As part of the preliminary engineering, we are doing these borings along the corridors to help us evaluate existing pavements, designing new pavements, and provide important information about the subsurface soil conditions along the corridors. This analysis will help determine where pavement rehabilitation or reconstruction will be necessary and lets us know the types of soil to expect during construction.
Intermittent single travel lane closures will be needed to perform this work. Daytime lane closures will be set in order to avoid peak-period travel times. Some work could occur at night, but activities would comply with City of Austin noise ordinances.
This work could begin as early as June 2018 and is expected to last through the summer. Specific timeframes for this work have not yet been determined, but more information will be posted as it becomes available.
Why are you tagging trees?
The City is conducting tree surveys to obtain information about what types and sizes of trees are in the right-of-way where improvements are proposed. Right-of-way means the City of Austin already owns and/or controls the right-of-way. The information from the tree surveys will help inform the design of improvements to be constructed in the corridors.
Trees with trunks larger than four inches in diameter are tagged so that they can be properly accounted for as design schematics are prepared. A tag does not indicate a tree will be removed. Those determinations have not been made.
How can I stay informed?
The best way to stay informed about activities related to the Corridor Construction Program is to sign up to receive electronic updates. You can opt-in to receive updates about the full 2016 Mobility Bond program, or designate just the corridor(s) of interest to you.
You can also follow us on social media:
We also plan to distribute information via NextDoor, update this webpage, and will occasionally send notices via mail or leave information at homes and businesses. Additionally, we are happy to come speak to your organization or neighborhood group. You can email us or call (512) 974-7840.
We will host public meetings in fall 2018. We encourage you to provide us with your contact information by signing up to receive updates so we can share those details when they are available.
Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns?
Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email or call us at (512) 974-7840. You may also call Austin 3-1-1.