New Steiner Ranch emergency evacuation route opens

A second emergency evacuation route opened up for Steiner Ranch residents.

"I am thrilled it's finally open, and it is available as we all know that the climate is changing, and we have a lot of wildfire risk out here, so anything we can do to approve evacuation," says Steiner Ranch resident Lorin McMurray.

In September 2011, a fire destroyed 23 homes in Steiner Ranch. As residents tried to escape, there was only one way out of the neighborhood.

"The 2011 fire has always been on people's minds, it comes up all the time. Everybody tried to leave at the same time. I don't know if you are familiar with it, and it was brutal," says Steiner Ranch Homeowner Association President Amy Yukich.

In 2019, residents and county officials attended an open house put together by Travis County to look at emergency route options, while reflecting on the major traffic jam the fire caused.

"The traffic was backed up quite a bit. It took a while for us to get out of the neighborhood and one of the reasons is everyone had to come up to 620 and turn right," says Travis County Assistant Public Works Director David Greear.

Travis County displayed several routes for the public to view and provide feedback on.

"There were site concerns, engineering concerns, environmental concerns and there was a hard time because it did include the community and there were different routes all the way from A to F and a lot of them did impact the residents in a more permanent way," says Yukich.

The county decided on Evacuation Route B. It officially opened on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"I know that there is just going to be a sense of relief for everybody in this community to have another way to get out in the event that it happens again," says McMurray.

The route in Travis County Precinct 2 was created to enhance safety for residents and reduce evacuation time.

A sign on the gate reads "for emergency access only". Behind the gate is a gravel road.

"We can only pave permanently certain places in this community because it is a nature-filled zone, and we would like to keep it that way so that is what the rocks are for," says Yukich. 

Evacuation Route B is located at the intersection of Prairie Clover Path and Flat Top Ranch Road.

"It leads to another neighborhood, so it’s one street, and it is kind of curvy and it kind of goes down through the lake area. I think it will be very easy for people to get out, obviously there are 5,000 homes out here," says McMurray.

The construction of Evacuation Route B started in February 2023 and was completed earlier this year.