University Boulevard Widening

Kennedy Consulting, Inc., a JMT Company, completed final design for a 3.8-mile urban roadway widening project in the Austin, TX metro area.

Round Rock, as with much of central Texas, has experienced explosive population growth in the past 10-15 years, which has left municipalities scrambling to keep up. University Boulevard is a major east-west arterial though Round Rock, and is part of the Williamson County Long Term Transportation Plan for a future freeway. Kennedy Consulting, Inc. (KCI), a JMT Company, led the design of 0.8 miles of widening for University Boulevard between the I-35 northbound frontage road and Sunrise Road. This section of road includes considerable commercial properties, with many restaurants and shopping centers nearby.

The $36-million project consisted of widening University Boulevard from five lanes with a center left turn lane, to six lanes with left turn lanes in each direction. KCI was responsible for the horizontal and vertical design, cross-street and driveway design, traffic control design, signing and pavement markings, and stormwater protection plan. KCI teamed with Kimley-Horn to design new traffic signals, as well as a bridge-class culvert underneath University Boulevard. Staff designed the closed storm sewer system throughout the length of this project. This job also contained an eight-foot-wide shared use path on the westbound side of University Boulevard and a sidewalk on the eastbound side.

Throughout the design of this project, KCI was in constant coordination with three other projects in the area. Most important of these was the construction of a diverging diamond interchange (DDI), which was being built on University Boulevard over I-35 and directly adjacent to the western limits of KCI’s project. One issue was the presence of heavy left turn traffic onto University Oaks Boulevard, which threatened to back up into the DDI if left unchanged. KCI designed the intersection with a dual left turn to accommodate the traffic and keep things moving smoothly through the DDI. This project also contained narrow existing right-of-way, which required KCI to narrow the travel lanes and shared use path.