• Rodriguez Transportation Group, Inc.

    US 290 and Texas SH 71

    Austin, Texas, United States

Project Summary

    • Marc Phan


The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working to improve the long-term mobility of US 290 and SH 71, a project that has been in the planning stage since the 1980s. Many options were considered, but they did not win public approval because the 2D schematic design was not able to express to the public what the project would look like. However, with the population of Travis County growing exponentially, TxDOT needed to re-examine the viability of the USD 540 million project, which involves building a state-of-the-art roadway that consists of three lanes in each direction for through traffic, as well as two to three frontage-road lanes in each direction. An overpass is also proposed for the US 290 main lanes over William Cannon Drive, with flyovers between US 290 and SH 71.


TxDOT contracted Rodriguez Transportation Group (RTG) to conduct an environmental study to propose a solution that effectively addresses the congestion the intersection is causing. RTG would also need to consider the environmental impact and value added to the Oak Hill community that the highway intersects. To obtain approval, RTG modeled the proposed solution using 3D modeling applications, so that TxDOT could see the impact the highway improvements would have on the area. In addition, RTG used Bentley’s ProjectWise collaboration system to communicate and share files, which allowed subcontractors to have access to the latest project information in real time.


The new roadway will reduce crashes, fatalities, and time spent in traffic, while the environmental impact study allowed the team to incorporate a design that was best suited to the surrounding environment. OpenRoads technology reduced the schedule by 10 months, leading to a significant cost savings. Moreover, the ability to import 3D surface designs into GEOPAK reduced the time that it took to render the project by more than six months. Creating iModels and exporting them to LumenRT gave the public and stakeholders a truly immersive project experience.


The team saved several months in the design stage by leveraging OpenRoad’s capabilities to accelerate the design. For example, OpenRoads Civil Cell greatly improved how the project team created surfaces when detailing elevation data for the contractor. The team also updated profiles in GEOPAK and imported them into an OpenRoads environment to update the driveway surfaces. Civil Cell saved the project team two to three months on all repetitions of the driveway design process. RTG also used a combination of ProjectWise, MicroStation, OpenRoads, Descartes, and LumenRT to create a realistic 3D model.

Project Playbook: Descartes, LumenRT, MicroStation, OpenRoads, ProjectWise

  • TxDOT re-examined the viability of a highway project that had been in planning for decades using 3D modeling software visualization capabilities.
  • The new roadway will reduce crashes, fatalities, and time spent in traffic, while the environmental impact study created an environmentally friendly design.
  • Using ProjectWise to communicate and share files, subcontractors had access to the latest project information in real time.
  • “Bentley’s OpenRoads and LumenRT technology gave us the tools that our company needed to generate a reality model that helped to obtain project approval from the public in the schematic phase.”

    Marc Phan Director of 3D Modeling and Design Rodriguez Transportation Group, Inc.