The topography of the site is not conducive to ball fields. There is a 100-foot cliff along the back edge of the property that will be potentially dangerous to WHLL ballplayers and their families, even if reasonable precautions are taken.
There are 200 feet of grade changes on the property (similar in height to a 20-story building). Cuts and fills over 30 feet for individual ball fields will require significant governmental variances in order to accommodate the large, flat surfaces required by ball fields and parking lots.
Road access to the site is unsafe.
River Hills Road is a narrow (10 foot lanes), curvy, country road with numerous switchbacks and blind 90-degree turns. Eanes Independent School District’s (EISD) own engineers reported the need for significant road improvements to safely handle traffic as part of a study for a new school on the site.
The reports indicated that River Hills Rd. needed to be widened, the road surface needed to be improved, and the radii of certain curves needed to be increased to allow for the safe passage of vehicles.
Additionally, the overall right of way width of the road also needed to be increased and the road needed to be widened to four lanes in front of the EISD tract to allow for adequate ingress and egress.
The reports also called for significant improvements to the low water crossings on River Hills Rd. to improve safety. Road improvements would need to be designed in such a manner to safely accommodate walkers, joggers, and bike riders that use this road as well.
At peak times, the Sports Complex would turnover their large parking lots numerous times and may generate as many as 6,000+ additional vehicle trips on the road in a day.
We are not aware of any current cost estimates for the necessary improvements to River Hills Rd, however, it is anticipated that these costs would be significant. There are no current plans to improve River Hills Road by any governmental organization that we are aware of.
Unsafe Emergency Response Times
Traffic issues make fire and ambulance response times unsafe for area residents and ballplayers. Even with a traffic signal, traffic queues on River Hills Rd. could be over 1 mile in length (back to the Sports Complex) resulting in waits in excess of 1 hour in certain circumstances.
Fire and life safety access would be insufficient and therefore life-threatening for area residents and the ballplayers at the facility should traffic congestion result as anticipated.
The intersection of Bee Caves Rd. (RM2244) and River Hills Rd. does not have the capacity to handle the vehicle trips generated by the Sports Complex.
Currently, there is no traffic light at this intersection. Signalizing this intersection is problematic because of limited sight distance issues resulting from a hilltop just west of the intersection, the location of several other roadways very near the intersection, the significant traffic flow on RM2244, a sharp “S” turn on River Hills that begins at the intersection, and a 60 mph speed limit on RM2244.
Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation and Travis County are studying the intersection to determine the safest and best solution to handle current and future traffic loads. We understand that WHLL has agreed to put $200,000 in escrow for the installation of a light at the intersection should one get approved.
Preliminary cost estimates provided to us from Texas Department of Transportation range from $245,000 to over $4 million.