Drivers say I-35 on-ramp at William Cannon is a dangerous merge

Austin

Instead of quickly jumping on Interstate 35 near William Cannon Drive, Lori Farkas says she’d rather sit through the Slaughter Lane traffic light and wait until the next southbound on-ramp rather than use the temporary southbound entrance near William Cannon Drive.

“I’ve used the ramp twice and it was so scary — just being in the traffic lane with the traffic going so fast that I’ve stopped using it,” Farkas explains. “When you get to the on-ramp there’s concrete barriers on each side, it’s very narrow and it zig-zags and then all of sudden it dumps you out onto I-35.”

Farkas says it’s also not just the merge that is worrisome, the left lane approaching the entrance ramp is uneven and it’s difficult to tell which lane drivers are supposed to be in. “When you’re leading up to the entrance ramp on the access road, there’s a barrier on the left-hand side, it’s very uneven and bumpy.”

The Texas Department of Transportation says the entrance ramp is temporary while construction on the new ramp is being completed. Because it is temporary, it does not have the full acceleration lane the new entrance ramp will include, once complete. The new entrance ramp is expected to open later this year.

“It’s pretty scary getting into the rush of traffic and you’re going 20 and everyone else is going 60 [mph],” says Farkas.

Several warning signs are installed heeding drivers to merge and to watch for upcoming merging traffic.

Farkas says since the project is ongoing, more should be done to keep drivers safe.

“First they need to give more room to merge, that would be the most important thing. So you can build up your speed and at least be going a little faster when you hit the lane of I-35.” She believes better signage would also be helpful.

TxDOT says there is currently one merging sign, but the agency will review the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for compliance and additional sign options. 

The agency encourages drivers to use caution when driving through construction zones, especially since it’s common for lanes to shift and speed limits to change.

Construction on the William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane bridges is anticipated to be finished by either 2019 or 2020, depending on the weather. 

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