These 2 TxDOT design proposals may help traffic on I-35

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Austin (KXAN) — Prior to a public meeting outlining two different conceptual design proposals for the refurbishment of Interstate Highway 35, Austin Department of Transportation and Texas Department of Transportation officials outlined the key features of both iterations. Did.

The I-35 Capital Express Central Project is a $ 4.9 billion upgrade planned to enhance one of Austin’s central transit corridors. Today, the road sounds second on Texas’ busiest freeway, earning an “F” rating for service, especially during peak travel times.

“We’ve been discussing these I-35 improvements for over 25 years,” said Tucker Ferguson, TxDOT Austin District Engineer. “And in the meantime, TxDOT has been working hard to gather feedback from the community with the goal of incorporating these ideas while fulfilling the challenges and missions of improving safety, dealing with congestion, and improving mobility. rice field.”

Today, city and State Department leaders have begun overhauling key facilities to address connectivity and safety for almost three years. On the current project timeline, environmental surveys and rough design work will continue until 2023, with construction scheduled to begin in 2025.

TxDOT presented changes to two proposals called Alternative 2 and Modified Alternative 3 on Tuesday afternoon. ..

The current design features of Alternative 2 and Alternative 3 overlap in many ways, except for two important differences. Similar to changing the intersection to Riverside Drive to make space for the Blue Line in Project Connect.

The following changes have been made since TxDOT’s August Community Conference:

Change of alternative 2

  • Deck Plaza accommodations from 4th to 8th Avenue only
  • Eliminate the opportunity for caps between Cesar Chavez Street and Force Street to minimize travel

Change of alternative 3

  • Displacement reduction by about 20 properties
  • The proposed removal of the flyover on the highway. 290 East
  • In contrast to the high management lanes, all lanes are low on Airport Boulevard
  • New bikes and pedestrian crossings on 3rd, 15th and 41st streets
  • Both the main lane and the management lane will be lower on Holly Street and the bypass lane will be higher.
  • An innovative intersection known as a single-point urban interchange on the East Riverside Drive to accommodate the Project Connect Blue Line
  • Bicycle and pedestrian crossroads on Woodland Avenue
  • Shift the north-facing frontage road to the west of downtown “to create a boulevard-style section” from Cesar Chavez Street to Dean Keaton Street.
  • Palmpark connection to the east of I-35
  • Removed access on Woodward Street

Both options have undergone the following changes since the August workshop:

  • Alley access to Crestwood
  • Reconstructed northbound ramp near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Added U-turn on the north side of Lady Bird Lake
  • Due to the Red Line Bridge, Ardenwood Road will no longer connect to the frontage road

Other notable project elements include reducing the speed limit on the frontage road to 35 mph and shared paths along both sides of the freeway.

In addition to the features outlined, Downtown Austin Alliance and Austin Transport Bureau personnel are leading efforts to develop “cap and stitch” design features to enhance East-West connectivity and community elements. Mike Trimble, director of the city’s Corridor Program Office, said these would complement TxDOT’s plans to bring the highway system below road levels.

“This provides greater mobility and connectivity throughout downtown and central Austin,” he said. “I am very encouraged by the fact that TxDOT has already incorporated some wide intersections or stitches into its design and is funding them as part of the project.”

Certain crossovers are taken into account in TxDOT’s current design proposals, but the overall funding of the cap is not included in the project’s $ 4.9 billion budget. Trimble said the main focus of this year’s Corridor Program Secretariat is to consider federal and local grant options and analyze funding sources for similar capping efforts across the country.

To date, TxDOT has collected over 3,500 public comments related to the project. Onnight, department, and city officials will preview these same design proposals at a direct virtual community meeting. The CapEX VOICE meeting will be held at the Austin Central Library (710 W. Cesar Chavez St) from 6 pm to 8 pm. Meetings are streamed online for those who cannot attend directly.

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