AUSTIN (KXAN) - An intersection design from Mexico might be the cure for one of the area's worst traffic nightmares.
The stretch of State Highway 290 along the "Y" intersection in Oak Hill is notorious for standstill traffic during most parts of the day.
"In the past 10 to 15 years it has gotten worse by the year," said Texas Department of Transportation spokesman John Hurt.
The problems start because drivers find themselves waiting for long periods of time at red lights. That is where a continuous traffic flow intersection would help get things going.
"They basically eliminate conflicting left turn movements, which give more green light time to traffic on Highway 290," said Hurt.
The Mexican design is being utilized more and more in the United States. This animated example from Utah gives an idea of how the traffic flow would work at most of the intersections on Hwy. 290 between Joe Tanner Lane and FM 1826.
Hurt said the intersections have a proven track record in places where they have been used.
"You can go from a service level ‘F,' which is the worst, to a ‘C' and sometimes ‘B,'' he said.
Travis County Commissioners approved $1.5 million on Tuesday for the project that will also be paid for by the city of Austin and state of Texas. Hurt estimated the project could cost in the neighborhood of $10 million which is cheaper than other fixes requiring new construction.
"It really is cost effective and you get a lot of bang for your buck," Hurt said.
Work on the intersections is expected to begin in late 2012 with hopeful completion by the end of 2013. The plan is considered an interim fix that could last 5 to 10 years before bigger improvements are needed.
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