620 Widening Project

620 widening header

An Rphoto of traffic in lanesR 620 Overlay Zoning District is being developed in the City of Lakeway as a planning strategy to manage the anticipated impacts of the planned expansion of Ranch Road 620.   The expanded and reconfigured RR 620 will generally be as shown below with six through lanes, raised medians, right and left turn lanes at certain intersections, and a shared use path on each side.  

TxDOT is understandably focusing on the engineering aspects of the project as a regional transportation corridor. The City of Lakeway is currently conducting a complementary study to take a broader view of the project’s transportation, economic, and social impacts with a particular emphasis on the City.  The expected work product is a RR 620 Overlay Zoning District to mitigate the negative impacts and manage the positive impacts of the road expansion.

The project is part of a larger TxDOT project to expand RR 620 along its full extent from US 183 in Austin to SH 71 in Bee Cave.   Within Lakeway, the area for the RR 620 Overlay Zoning District is defined for the commercial properties fronting the project.

Existing Typical Cross Section


Future Typical Cross Section



The TxDOT schedule is dependent upon the availability of funding and so cannot be set with certainty, but if all goes as anticipated construction is planned to start in late 2027 and last for 18 months.    

The overall long-term city vision as detailed in the Comprehensive Plan is for Lakeway to preserve, protect, and enhance its character as a premier suburban community.  As it is currently configured, RR 620 falls short of the  Comprehensive Plan goals in many respects.  Within this context, the changes imposed by the RR 620 project will have positive and negative impacts in the immediate term, short term and long term which must be addressed.

Immediate Impacts & Goals

The immediate term is defined as the period leading up to the start of construction and the construction itself. The key physical impacts are the direct effects of the expanded right-of-way. Key policy impacts are the issues faced by grandfathered legal non-conforming properties and by established businesses which are currently in conformance with all regulations which will be made non-conforming because of the RR 620 project. For some properties, including non-conforming properties which were developed before being subject to City of Lakeway regulations, bringing the property into conformance with the current code may be physically impossible because of site constraints.

The immediate-term goals of the RR 620 Overlay Zoning District are to update the city code to accommodate the road expansion, to smooth the process for properties to come into conformance with the code, and to smooth the process for properties which must continue in a legal non-conforming status. 

Short Term Impacts & Goals

The short term is defined as the period immediately after all construction is complete.   The key physical impact is the new configuration of RR 620.  The end result will be improved traffic throughput at the regional level, but a significant change in the character of the corridor at the local level to be more of a barrier between the east and west sides of Lakeway and potentially less supportive of local access.  

The primary goal of the RR 620 Overlay Zoning  District for short-term impacts is to ensure that the city code is supportive of the anticipated land use changes, enables them with minimal need for variance requests, and maximizes the flexibility of the City response to businesses impacted by the RR 620 project.   A secondary goal is to take advantage of the disruption as an opportunity to resolve non-conforming uses.

Long Term Impacts & Goals

The long term is defined both in terms of time and in terms of scope.  The time period goes beyond the completion of construction to address the full impacts of RR 620 reconstruction, with an expanded scope that includes the changed context and the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.  In the long term, the RR 620 project is an opportunity to implement the goals and actions of the Comprehensive Plan.

Related Comprehensive Plan Goals

The Comprehensive Plan has a high level vision and defines general goals for the city rather than specific projects.  In contrast, the TxDOT RR 620 project is a specific project which focuses on the technical needs of the corridor.  The long-term goals for the RR 620 Overlay Zoning  District are the middle ground between these two which supports and enables them while at the same time is more proactive in exploring and addressing the related issues.  This approach will not detail specific projects, but will look ahead to potential projects and then ensure that the supporting framework of city code and procedures are in place to enable them.  In doing so, this approach will be specifically guided to implement the relevant goals and actions of the Comprehensive Plan.

goal 1

  • Enhance gateways into the city for a sense of place and branding.
    The RR 620 project can build on the community image by establishing a design theme with a consistent vocabulary for the corridor streetscape, including the design of the shared use path, signage, street furniture, and retaining walls.  A goal for the RR 620 overlay zoning district is therefore to define a community image and the specific treatments desired for the corridor.  Coordination with TxDOT may allow some implementation of streetscape and gateway designs as “local government projects” during construction, while other elements may be developed by the City in the short-term and long-term

goal 3

  • Strive for the highest and best land use on RR 620. 
  • Review and update ordinances to maintain character while increasing revenue. 
  • Consider more dense mixed use development along state highways. 
  • Consider locations that support higher density and traffic access. 
  • Consider development of areas which already have infrastructure. 
  • Create distinctions in the commercial zoning code for better-defined districts. 
  • Always consider mobility and connectivity. 

Several goals relating to wise land use point to the need to address the long-term period with the RR 620 update.  Some of the goals refer to long-term redevelopment, so this has to be balanced with the need to preserve existing businesses in the short term.     

Goal 4

  • Develop backage roads along the RR 620 corridor. 
  • Connect gaps...between neighboring communities. 
  • Explore alternative access routes...and safe routes to schools. 

Goals for mobility and connectivity need to consider being retrofitted to the existing transportation system and urban structure.   Physical updates in the short term are one aspect of the solution; code updates to allow for preferred redevelopment in the long term are another aspect.  

Goal 5

  • Evaluate a program to address sidewalk and Shared-Use Path needs.
  • Encourage the use of greywater in new development, particularly with the RR 620 expansion.  

Sidewalks and shared-use paths are part of an active transportation system that is largely absent from Lakeway.  Defining an excellent shape for this system means not only its physical condition, but its extent, connectivity, and safety.  A transportation system form pedestrians and bicyclists has the additional need to be pleasant and convenient for recreational use as well as for transportation.

Greywater and other types of green infrastructure could be a useful way to partially mitigate water quality issues for properties where it is physically impossible to come into full compliance with current regulations.  

Goal 7

  • Review sidewalk needs. 
  • Address gaps between green spaces as an interconnected network. 
  • Prioritize connecting city corners when RR 620 is expanded. 

The definition of community facilities can be expanded to include smaller spaces such as pocket parks and gateways.  The short-term disruption and long-term redevelopment caused by the RR 620 expansion is an opportunity to define more spaces and to connect them into a continuous city-wide system.   

goal 8

  • Determine the types of commercial development that best benefits the city.
  • Research the city attributes that attract desirable businesses. 
  • Consider ways to use Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues to draw guests to hotels. 

This Comprehensive Plan goal is linked to Goal 3: Ensure Wise Land Use, particularly the provision to strive for the highest and best land use in the RR 620 corridor.  A goal for the RR 620 overlay zoning district is therefore to define the desirable commercial activities for the corridor, determine the corridor attributes that support and attract them, and develop the overlay zoning district to support those attributes.