Closed MLK Blvd. lane to reopen late July, TFC officials say

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — If your commute takes you on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Bullock Texas State History Museum, you know it’s been a tight squeeze for drivers lately.

“It’s gotten even worse, I didn’t think that was possible but it happened,” Nathan Hendra said. The eastsider is no stranger to the area.”I’m on this road for pretty much all of my commute,” he added.

He travels along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to downtown about three or four times a week. Since the eastbound south lane closed mid-May from Lavaca Street to San Jacinto Boulevard Hendra’s noticed a change.

Overall, the area has gotten a little more packed since the Capitol Complex broke ground on its project late last year and one lane was closed for crews to conduct utility work.

John Raff, deputy executive director with Texas Facilities Commission, said he understands the boulevard is vital for a lot of commuters who travel in-and-out of the downtown area.

“I’d say that south lane eastbound is affecting the commute home because it’s the path to get to Interstate 35,” he said.

By the end of July, Raff said they should be complete with the utility work and will reopen the lane on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Hendra said he’s ready but remains patient.

“It’s a problem bigger than me so I just have to sit through it,” he said about the traffic.

Texas Facilities Commission crews are working to build the Texas Mall which will be a pedestrian-friendly area north of the Capitol. This project will also centralize all state buildings, plus add more green space for tourism, events and festivals.

Currently, the foundation contractor has begun drilling piers for the structure of the new building at 1801 Congress Avenue. At 1601 Congress Avenue, crews are working to finish the excavation of the building area. Once crews complete the excavation in September, plans to begin work on the avenue’s right-of-way will kick off. The right-of-way will stretch north to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Phase I of this project is expected to be completed by May 2022.

Capitol Complex closures

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is not the only road facing closures, there are several lane and crosswalk closures surrounding the area as crews work to finish up utility work.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard eastbound crosswalk over Congress Avenue.
  • Eastern crosswalk over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Congress Avenue.
  • Eastbound sidewalk along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Congress Avenue to San Jacinto Boulevard.
  • Westside sidewalk along Brazos Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard 18th Street.
  • Westside crosswalk over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Brazos Street.
  • Westside crosswalk over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at San Jacinto Boulevard.
  • Brazos Street between 16th and 17th Streets.

If you need help getting around the closures check out the Safe Sidewalk Routes Map.

Texas Facilities Commission wants to remind people to not walk in the bike lanes Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Brazos Street and Congress Avenue.

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