Highway construction doesn’t stop Trail of Lights visitors

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The continued construction on MoPac has traffic backed up as visitors head to Austin’s Trail of Lights. The annual event brings in thousands each year, those working for the city and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority say they are doing everything to eliminate some traffic.

“I would say it took us a little bit longer than we were planning when we were heading down here,” said Trail of Lights visitor Samantha Muschi.

Muschi estimates that lane closures on MoPac added around 15 minutes to her commute to Zilker Park.

Seven projects are scheduled through Saturday night for the MoPac Improvement Project varying from landscaping to widening roads with an ongoing lane closure on Enfield road.

“They (CTRMC) have been very thoughtful in their planning and they have been very good at communicating with us through this,” said Trail of Lights Executive Director James Russell.

To help the flow of traffic, the city of Austin has their own road closures, Barton Springs Road leading to the trail entrance is closed and Stratford Drive is closed on the West side of Mopac.

“We make changes every year to try and improve everybody’s life that lives either around the park or uses MoPac to travel or Lamar to travel,” said Russell.

Regardless, those wanting to check out the lights say the extra traffic and lane closures won’t make them stay home.

“We got here, and It’s totally worth it to see the lights,” said Muschi.

The MoPac Express Lane Project is more than a year behind schedule. In October, the northbound toll lane from Ranch to Market 2222 to Parmer Lane officially opened. The rest of the express lane including the southbound side and the northbound side between downtown at 2222 will not open until early next year.

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