AUSTIN (KXAN) — Scheduled demolition on the St. Johns Avenue Bridge scheduled to begin Friday will cause a shift in traffic resulting in delays and closures on Interstate Highway 35, according to a press release from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Starting Thursday at 9 p.m., the St. Johns Avenue Bridge will close for the next several months into “late summer” as crews demolish and reconstruct it as part of the I-35 from Rundberg Lane to US 290 project. A temporary walkway will be constructed for pedestrians and bicyclists to still be able to cross I-35 at St. Johns Avenue. 

Drivers will be diverted to the I-35 frontage road until the reconstruction of the new bridge is complete. Anyone trying to get to St. Johns Avenue on the opposite side of I-35 will be forced to use the U-turns at US 290 and US-183.

The first phase of the bridge’s demolition will begin Friday at 5 a.m. Traffic on I-35 between Rundberg Lane and US 290 will see major lane shifts as the northbound I-35 will be reduced to two lanes.

The northbound entrance ramp north of US 290 will be closed and the Rundberg Lane exit ramp will be closed. Southbound traffic on I-35 will also be reduced to two lanes and shifted east. The southbound entrance ramp at Rundberg Lane will be closed and the southbound US 183 to I-35 flyover will be closed.

“It is a major event,” Terry McCoy, the district engineer with TxDOT Austin said. “We’re asking people to stay off of I-35, if at all possible. Find another route. Don’t get caught up in this if you don’t absolutely have to.”

“What we’re trying to do is not sugarcoat this. This is absolutely fundamental and critical for us to do the work we need to do,” McCoy continued. 

TxDOT is encouraging drivers to seek alternate routes as major delays are expected. This is the first of three weekends planned in June for the bridge’s demolition.