Construction photos from December 2020.
Concrete placement for the newly built Elroy Road Bridge is now complete. The structure is part of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s (CTRMA) and Travis County’s road widening project to address roadway safety concerns in a rapidly developing area of southeast Austin. It will allow safer movement of bicycle and pedestrian traffic and expand connectivity to nearby Del Valle schools, neighborhoods, and emergency services.
“There’s a lot of development happening in that area, especially with the addition of the Circuit of the Americas,” says Aguirre & Fields Project Manager Stacy Tsai, P.E. “Unfortunately, any time there’s an event there now, there’s a traffic jam.”
Complicating matters, Elroy Road traverses the Dry Creek flood plain, currently subjecting drivers to hazardous conditions during heavy rains.
“Instead of a simple widening project, we needed to improve the area as a whole to protect vehicles from being inundated with water,” says Tsai. “That’s why we were brought in as a subconsultant to design the bridge portion of the project.”
The 1.2 mile, $26.9 million, multi-faceted project is funded by Travis County’s Capital Improvement Program and overseen by Atkins, serving as the general engineering consultant for CTRMA.
“Atkins has done a great job during the development of this project,” says Tsai. “There are also many subconsultants involved, and I like the fact that Travis County and CTRMA have included all players in the majority of our meetings.”
“We value working with CTRMA and Travis County and are proud to have partnered with them on projects since 2008,” adds Aguirre & Fields President Dave Lubitz. “They’re local, and our employees use their facilities daily. They improve not only mobility options and the transit times for commuters, but they also improve general purpose movement and provide a very robust shared use path program.”
Elroy Road is being expanded from two to five lanes, including a center turn lane, with bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks. Aguirre & Fields provided structural services to design and detail the 15-span, 1,500 foot long Tx46 girder bridge, as well as various miscellaneous details for drainage structures.
The project was designed with phased construction, which allows it to open early to traffic, while still providing the additional time and space necessary for utilities to be relocated.
“One of the biggest concerns that the client had is the speed of this particular job,” says Tsai. “Considering how quickly this area is developing, it is important for them to have accelerated construction on this project.”
Aguirre & Fields has been able to assist in accelerated construction efforts by also providing construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services for the project.
“I was a contractor for 26 years and have been an inspector for eight,” says Aguirre & Fields Construction Inspector Pat De Los Santos. “This is the first job I’ve been on where a subconsultant has provided both design and inspection services for a project.”
By providing CEI services alongside design work, Aguirre & Fields has been able to reduce the overall cost to CTRMA and Travis County.
“They knew they were going to need CEI services for the project, so we were able to roll those services together into a package for them,” says Tsai. “We were also able to reduce costs to the client by utilizing rip rap slopes as opposed to retaining walls in the design. We also detailed the bridge superstructure using Tx46 concrete girders, one of the most cost effective beam types available.”
“We know that infrastructure projects are expensive,” says Aguirre & Fields Chief Marketing Officer Mark Gribble. “We advocate on behalf of the people who bear those costs by innovating more cost-effective solutions, both in the short and long term. We don’t view projects as just concrete and steel. We see projects through the lens of how they impact the people in the community.”