AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - People in Steiner Ranch met with Travis County officials to discuss a new emergency evacuation route Thursday. Dozens of residents gathered around maps and designs of potential routes at Canyon Ridge Middle School for an open house.
The need for a third route came after the fire that destroyed 23 homes in 2011. Although residents were able to escape their houses safely it took them a long time to evacuate at the time there was only one way in and out of the neighborhood.
Travis County Assistant Public Works Director David Greear was one of the many residents waiting to get out of the area. "The traffic was backed up quite a bit I 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," Greear said.
Since then, Travis County has come up with a number of different routes to help residents get out safely and help emergency crews cut down on response times. Plan F is currently the preferred route. Greear said it's the plan engineers, the Steiner Ranch Master Association and first responders were able to get behind.
"It's the most efficient route to get out of the neighborhood for emergency vehicles," said Greear.
Route F would be open to residents 24 hours and cost an estimated 7.2 million dollars. Rob Lowe with the Steiner Ranch Mountain Biking Team said his members are hoping Travis County might consider a different route that won't take trails away from the community.
"It's going to severely affect our most heavily used trails and the trails that we use for our beginner riders,” Lowe said. "This is one more road one more obstacle that would be right in the heart of the trail system that we'll have to cross over to go from one trail to the next which creates a safety issue."
Other residents voiced their concerns about traffic and construction pollution. Residents still have the opportunity to comment and give feedback on this project before May 3rd.