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The final link on the SH 45 Loop chain is approaching a roadblock.
Travis County Commissioners have asked Hays County Commissioners to halt the State Highway 45 expansion project, which would create a 3.5-mile stretch connecting I-35 to FM 1626, feeding South Mopac.
Travis County Commissioners said they haven't been part of the discussion, citing the impact that the "missing link" would have on the area's traffic and growth.
"Making the connection from I-35 to FM 1626 would effectively make Mopac an I-35 bypass, dramatically increasing vehicular and truck traffic," the letter read. "The traffic impacts of this decision by Hays County would have a profound and detrimental effect almost entirely on Austin and Travis County."
Commissioners also cited environmental concerns. With traffic increasing on Balcones Canyonlands Preserve lands, City of Austin Water Quality Protection lands, the Edwards Aquifer and endangered species habitat, Travis County said the area's water quality and environment are at greater risk.
Hays County's Position
But Hays County has a different perspective. Around 40% of the county's residents work in Austin, while around 20% of Texas State University's commuters come from Austin. To access Mopac, many of those metro residents rely on FM 1626—a two-lane rural roadway—to go to school or work, causing congestion in the South Austin neighborhood of Shady Hollow.
“What it will do is relieve the pressure on 1626, and some of these in some of the eastern parts of the county that will have that connection between 1626 and 35,” Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones told KXAN.
Travis County expressed concerns that the area would experience rapid growth if the 3.5-mile stretch is built. Citing Hays County's 60% growth from 2000 to 2010 and a Texas Transportation Institute study, the county said growth has already occurred. Now, they say it's time to play catch-up.
"SH 45 can be built with access restrictions that limit sprawl along the roadway. It can be built with all of the environmental protections our ingenuity can contrive. It can be built with all the associated green space, landscaping, and neighborhood protections we desire. But it must be built," Hays County's website said.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said he hopes to discuss the move between the courts and hear from the community. Becerra also said the Travis County letter will be discussed at the next Hays County Commissioners' Court meeting.
Austinites love our local brews, wines and spirits.
And if you’ve ever cracked open a cold beer or sipped a hard seltzer and marveled at its quintessentially Austin can, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the work of 31-year-old Sam O’Brien and his Austin-based design studio, SAMPLE.
“Austin is just such a unique place that these brands have one thing in common — they want to tout their Austin roots,” said O’Brien, who moved here from New York when he was a toddler after his dad, acclaimed photographer Michael O’Brien, visited the city on assignment and fell in love with it. “I’ve been an Austin resident for 28 years and it kind of automatically comes through in my work. Some of it is intentional for the brand, but some of it is my personality coming through.”
Launched two years ago, O’Brien’s SAMPLE is responsible for the looks of local food and beverage brands such as Zilker Brewing Company, Cisco’s Restaurant, Bakery and Bar, Ranch Rider Spirits and Austin 101 Light Whiskey as well as beloved local businesses such as Criquet Shirts and Chubbies. (Fun fact: SAMPLE’s officemates, FugginHuggin, seemingly have the other half of Austin’s alcohol market covered, designing for brands such as Twisted X Brewing Co. and Hi Sign Brewing.)
From the hats O’Brien designed for Cisco’s that state, simply, “Migas” – a nod to one of the Austin institution’s signature dishes – to the festive merch he created for University of Texas football player Bijan Robinson’s new Dijon mustard brand, time and time again he encapsulates the city’s quirky, upbeat vibe. Perhaps most notable, however, is his work for Zilker Brewing Company, whose eye-catching cans incorporate a perfectly balanced blend of bright colors and throwback aesthetics.
“Our brand is centered around a retro-modern vibe that can be tricky to pull off at times but has been a natural fit for Sam since our first project together,” said Patrick Clark, co-founder of Zilker Brewing Company. “He designed a collaboration can for us several years ago that was so on-brand it eventually inspired the refresh of our core beer line-up.”
O’Brien, who attended Baylor University and interned and worked at Austin’s McGarrah Jessee before starting his own firm, said his early collaboration with Zilker Brewing was “every designer’s dream.”
“It was the first account that made me realize that SAMPLE was possible,” he said. “It was awesome, not only for the creative opportunities and beer labels we got to design and are still designing, but also my office is right down the street from them and I get the perks of free beer. You couldn’t really ask for more as an Austin-based designer.
O’Brien said in the future he’d love to add businesses like Howler Bros., Patagonia and heritage beer brands such as Anheuser-Busch to his client roster. Mostly, though, he simply wants to help spotlight and amplify Austin culture through his designs.
“The underlying spirit of Austin still exists, and it’s up to the native Austinites and the true Austinites to keep that,” he said. “Cisco’s, for example, who we’ve done work for, is the oldest Tex-Mex place in Austin. When I do work for them, it’s like we want to honor that heritage and that history and celebrate that. We’re able to keep the spirit alive through our work.”
Eggersmann usa brings their European design experience to Austin. (eggersmann usa)
You’ve found your dream home. Now it’s time to design your space.
Let eggersmann make your dreams come true. Not only are their products custom-crafted to last a lifetime, but their team of professional designers, installers, and care specialists are there to assist you from the ideation to the implementation of your gorgeous and highly functional space.
A family-owned business, eggersmann offers modern design solutions for every room in your home and they’ve had a hand in the design of many of the most beautiful homes in Texas, including right here in ATX.
A downtown condo. A house on the lake. South Austin style. All are perfect for eggersmann’s design solutions.
If you’re not sure where to begin, eggersmann has plenty of inspiration to get you started.
Kitchens are living spaces that invite us to indulge our senses; places that help us bond and are the heart of the modern home.
Eggersmann’s modern German kitchens and home living solutions are distinguished not only by unique stone cabinet fronts and exotic veneers, but also technological feats in cabinetry composition and ergonomics like handleless cabinets and motion sliding countertops.
Their ideas spring from over 100 years of experience. Ever since Wilhelm Eggersmann founded this company in 1908, the now global team insists only the best will do and that every kitchen should be as individual as its owner.
Beyond the closet, eggersmann brings soul to your wardrobe.
Tailor made in every aspect, personalize your space to make dressing and attire a special occasion. With innovative design solutions like hidden safes, watch-winders, and other accessory storage that will make the organizationally-obsessed squeal with delight, eggersmann’s team of designers can help you to create a closet you’ll want to spend all day in.
Create modern, beautiful spaces that motivate you to play and socialize. Host the next grand celebration or relax and relieve the tensions of your day. Eggersmann’s entertainment solutions focus on how you live and how you entertain.
Need a TV for a family movie night but prefer something besides a black screen when you’re entertaining? Eggersmann’s remote-controlled lifting technology allows you to do just that. What about design solutions that keep a bustling household organized? Eggersmann makes it all possible.
To learn more about the exceptional luxury cabinetry, exotic durable finishes, and innovative solutions, you may visit one of 6 eggersmann showrooms in the US, one of its retail locations in Canada, Mexico, or the US including Hawaii, or call to make an appointment with the satellite design service here in Austin where a knowledgeable representative will meet you at your home, office, or location of your choice.
The eggersmann team works directly with homeowners to bring their dream spaces into reality or with your interior designer, architect, or builder. They also have extensive experience working with high-rise/multi-unit developers or condo owners.