AUSTIN -- Travis County Commissioners are considering expanding the roads around the Circuit of the Americas race track. They took up the issue Tuesday in Commissioners Court. However, the idea has been pushed back for another two weeks. Commissioners want to figure out how much it would cost, how to fund it. And whether Austin, or possibly COTA, could help pay the bill.
Signs of growth surround COTA. An economic benefit for some; for others a burden, especially during events.
"I detour pretty much halfway to Bastrop, then loop back around and head to work that way," says nearby resident David Lindberg. He says he would welcome road expansion, but thinks COTA or Austin should pay for it, since the city has annexed the track and some surrounding areas.
"When they (COTA) said they'd expand the roads so the traffic wouldn't be bad, I didn't think it was that bad of a deal. But then it didn't happen," said Lindberg.
Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez says she feels obligated to the residents and is asking the county to fund some road work.
"Those roads are not sufficient for meeting the needs of mobility and public safety. When COTA came in, they really just put the spotlight on how bad our roads are," said Gomez.
Elroy Road is four lanes when you exit at 130, but at McAngus, closer to Circuit of the Americas, it's reduced to two lanes. They want to expand the road to four lanes through Kellam. From where Kellam ends at Pearce, they'd like to extend as a five-lane road all the way to 71.
Councilwoman Gomez says this would take traffic off some local roads, helping residents in the surrounding area get to school or work.
Chief Ken Bailey with Travis County Fire Rescue says any road expansion would improve response time.
'We have significant growth with some municipal utility districts coming into South Travis County, both east and west of COTA, plus the impact COTA as on the community as well," said Chief Bailey.
Because of rising costs, Gomez says they'd like to get this done now. They're considering certificates of obligation, a form of debt that can be used without going to the voters.
Commissioners are concerned about cost; they'll be given an estimate in two weeks. Proponents also say better road access will bring in more business to the area.