City Council approves Bell Blvd. Phase One Engineer preliminary agreement

At its Thursday, September 8, 2016 Regular Scheduled Meeting, the Cedar Park City Council approved an engineering services preliminary agreement with Binkley Barfield for Phase One of the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project. It includes realigning Bell Boulevard (US Highway 183 from Buttercup Creek Boulevard/Brushy Creek Road to Cedar Park Drive eastward to follow the route of Old Highway 183.

“The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project is a top priority for our City Council,” Mayor Matt Powell says. “The engineering and design to move this portion of the highway east is the first step in allowing us to open space for placemaking and realize our community’s vision to create something very special, something uniquely Cedar Park.”

Assistant City Manager Katherine Caffrey, who has been overseeing the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project, added, “Our City Council’s support to move forward with the engineering and design of the realignment of Bell Boulevard represents an exciting beginning to the complex process of realizing the community’s vision of Bell Boulevard and transforming it into a true destination.”

The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan is a multi-year, multi-phase project to revitalize the City’s oldest commercial hub and primary north-south corridor. Bell Boulevard transportation-related projects were approved by 74.76 percent of voters as part of Proposition One: Streets and Roads ($63M) in the November 2015 Bond Election.

This engineering and design preliminary agreement approved by Council is not to exceed $1,177, 148 and allows the City and Binkley Barfield to move forward with major components of the design while coordinating with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in developing the final design scope for the project. In addition it includes services for property owners and public engagement, a full design survey, utility identification and coordination, environmental assessment, and schematic development. A final engineering services agreement will be brought back before the City Council once preliminary engineering services are further along and the final project scope and TxDOT requirements are identified.

Binkley Barfield estimates that engineering design, permitting and right-of-way acquisition will take 24 months. Utility relocation, which will run concurrently with the engineering and design process, is anticipated to be 30 months. Once the process of design, permitting, right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation is complete, roadway construction is set to begin and should take an additional 18 months to complete. This means that the full scope of the engineering and design process with utility relocation is estimated to be complete in early 2019, then construction is set to begin – barring any unforeseen circumstances. During these steps of the project, the City will continue its stakeholder and community involvement.

More about Bell Boulevard

Bell Boulevard, also known as US Highway 183, has long been the “backbone” of Cedar Park. As the community has grown and evolved through the decades, Bell Boulevard has remained the primary north-south corridor for the city. Bell Boulevard was once a vital community hub, but the commercial area has experienced a steady decline over the last several decades. Following community members’ expressed desires during the 2014 comprehensive planning process to see Bell Boulevard revitalized as a thriving commercial corridor with
its own unique identity and special charm, the City of Cedar Park embarked on the process of creating a new Master Plan for Bell Boulevard.

The redevelopment master plan consists of two phases. Phase 1 focuses on road realignment and other transportation improvements, as well as the development of Buttercup Creek Natural Area. Phase 2 focuses on the remaining western portions of the shopping streets, walkable blocks and a parkway road and bridge connecting to the Buttercup Creek Natural Area.

Updates and future community engagement opportunities will be shared on www.DestinationBellBlvd.com.