A number of improvements are planned for FM 971 and N. Austin Avenue that will improve pedestrian and vehicle mobility in northeast Georgetown. These transportation improvements occurring in multiple phases will decrease congestion and help provide a safer route for students walking to Georgetown High School.
The first phase of this work is the construction of a sidewalk on the east side of N. Austin Avenue from the Recreation Center to Georgetown High School. Construction on the sidewalk starts this summer and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.
A second phase of work involves the realignment of the intersection of FM 971 and N. Austin Avenue. This project will alter the grades of the roadways and eliminate steep angles that hinder sight lines. Soccer fields and the walking trail in San Gabriel Park are being moved this summer to allow for the realignment of FM 971. The extension of the Austin Avenue sidewalk under the FM 971 via a pedestrian tunnel also is part of this project. This phase is partially funded with City road bonds authorized by the voters in 2008. If the remaining funds can be secured, construction could begin in 2015 and would take approximately one year.
A third phase of work would involve the Northwest Boulevard Bridge over Interstate 35 and the extension of Northwest Boulevard from Fontana Drive to N. Austin Avenue. The project will align with FM 971 to create a new east-west connection across I-35. Design work for this project is underway. This project is being considered for a potential City transportation bond election in May 2015. A road bond committee appointed by the City Council is currently reviewing potential projects and is planning to make a recommendation to the City Council.
In the future, another project in this corridor would complete the widening of FM 971 to four lanes from Gann Street to NE Inner Loop. Partial funding would come from available authorization from the 2008 City road bonds. These funds would be leveraged with state and/or federal money to complete this section.