AUSTIN (KXAN) - Drivers can expect to see survey work and utility relocation taking place soon along MoPac from Downtown Austin north to Parmer Lane. Roadway construction is expected to start late this year.
CH2M, an international engineering and construction firm, was selected to design and build express lanes along the highway . The project will be completed by late 2015 and cost $137 million.
"Improving MoPac as quickly as possible has been a top priority for us," said Ray Wilkerson, chairman of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. "In a little over two years, we've completed the environmental process and selected a company to build the project."
The 11-mile project will involve constructing and widening existing pavement and bridges to accommodate the addition on one express lane in each direction. Seven miles of walls will also be built along the stretch to help shield highway noise from nearby neighborhoods.
The mobility authority said construction in the narrow, heavily populated and well-travelled portion of the highway will be a challenge. To reduce the impact on traffic, lane closures will only be allowed during nighttime hours. Shutdowns will also be prohibited during special events and on holidays.
The late night work is also a concern to many residents who have homes nearby. The mobility authority said a public outreach effort is in the works to keep residents informed about the project and to minimize construction noise and other impacts as much as possible.
The mobility authority is also spending more than $5 million to upgrade bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the stretch.
The new construction will take place within the existing corridor, so no additional property will need to be acquired.
"This project is going to transform the MoPac corridor," mobility authority executive director Mike Heiligenstein said. "Express buses and van pools will be able to get to their destination on schedule, and individual drivers will have the ability to by-pass congestion when they really need to be somewhere on time."
Variable toll rates will be used for the new express lanes. The charges will increase during periods when traffic is heavy and go down when it is free-flowing. Existing lanes will remain toll-free.
Buses and vanpools will have free access to the express lanes.
Capitol Metro offers a program called MetroRideShare which will loan you a van or find an established group for you to ride with.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.