CEDAR PARK, TEXAS - The work city leaders called "the most significant transportation project in the history of Cedar Park" was formally completed Wednesday.
Leaders from Cedar Park, Williamson County and TxDOT held a ribbon cutting Wednesday to mark the completion of improvements along RM 1431, also called Whitestone Boulevard.
"It was hard and it's challenging and ultimately it's all worked," said Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell.
The $22 million project widened the once rural highway to a six-lane divided road between Market Street and Sam Bass Road, and created a continuous flow intersection at Parmer Lane and RM 1431. It's all something Powell said they needed to combat the growing population.
Steve Jungert, owner of Inspire Fitness along RM 1431, said he remembers the congestion before the construction was terrible. He hopes the improvements boosts business.
"I honestly think during the construction part it was a little bit of a deterrent, frankly, but now that it's gotten going, I like to think that it's going to bring more people into this area," said Jungert.
He said he’s already seen more people come in the past few weeks.
"It's way better now, I can just tell, I never have to wait in line even if it's at rush hour," said Jungert.
According to TxDOT, the number of cars on RM 1431 has increased by 24 percent east of Parmer Lane and 34 percent west of Parmer Lane since 2011.
TxDOT also measured travel times along 1431 between Market Street and Toro Grande Drive in 2011 and September 2016. Their data shows getting through the intersection of RM 1431 at Parmer Lane took 2-3 minutes in 2011, and between one minute and one minute 45 seconds in September 2016.
The project was a partnership between the City of Cedar Park, TxDOT and Williamson County.
"It is invaluable for us as we move forward and try to stay ahead of congestion instead of getting stuck in it," said Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long.
The city paid the upfront design and construction costs of about $22 million dollars. TxDOT will now annually reimburse the city for 80 percent of the construction costs. TxDOT also paid for construction administrative costs of about $1.7 million and contributed about $100,000 for sidewalks. Williamson County also paid $1.15 million towards the continuous flow intersection.
"With the growth that we're experiencing in this area to me its responsible governance to get out in front of it, the worst thing you can do is wait too long to build a road," said Powell.
(© 2016 KVUE)