AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction crews will begin working this month on much needed improvements to William Cannon Drive in southeast Austin.

“This is in the best interest of our community. It’s for the safety of our kids who want to walk and bike to school safely,” council member Vanessa Fuentes, who represents the area where construction is happening, said.

Scope of the project

The project will bring major changes to the roadway between Running Water Drive and McKinney Falls Parkway. The area has grown considerably in recent years and the city identified the area needed upgrades.

According to city data, in the past five years there have been more than 1,000 crashes along William Cannon drive between I-35 and McKinney Falls parkway. Of those crashes, one person died and more than 100 were injured.

The project will widen the roadway from two lanes to four. There will be two new signalized intersections along the roadway at Running Water drive and James Ranch road, and a new upgraded traffic signal at McKinney Falls parkway.

A new pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) will be installed right in front of Hillcrest Elementary on Springfield drive. A PHB is a crosswalk that will flash lights at drivers letting them know when kids or parents are crossing the street.

The city will also be adding shared-use paths along both sides of the roadway for walking and biking.

Austin Watershed Protection will be adding improvements to an existing water quality pond and Austin Water will be upgrading pipes during the construction.

Fuentes said her constituents have been waiting years for these improvements in their area.

“Frankly, what we’ve seen for years on end is that often times our east side communities are the last areas to get invested in, so these improvements are a long time coming and couldn’t come soon enough,” Fuentes explained.

How much will the project cost?

Fuentes said the project will cost more than $20 million.

The money is coming from a combination of mobility bonds from 2016, 2018, and 2020.

How long will the construction last?

The project will begin in May and the city expects the project to be completed by the start of 2026.

Construction could be happening daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. along the roadway and will bring disruptions. The project will add new bus stops along the roadway, and the city said it is working with CapMetro to continue providing service in the area during construction.