There’s a lot of dirt and work in east Austin, and in a sign of progress, new northbound non-tolled lanes on US 183 between 51st Street and Manor Road are now open. As drivers shift onto the new road, the next phase of the project in that area will get underway: building toll lanes.
What drivers currently know as Ed Bluestein Boulevard will be torn up and rebuilt as three toll lanes running in each direction alongside three general-purpose lanes. In the next month, the southbound segment of US 183 will open. Officials say by late this year or early next year, all the new general purpose non-tolled lanes will open to traffic from roughly Techni Center Drive to Manor Road.
Cosme Belmonte says he commutes through the 183 South Project weekly. He says construction delays are frustrating, but the final project will be worth it in the end.
“It’s going to help with the traffic. Right now it’s because a lot of construction — a lot of lanes — are closed, but I think after that it’s going to help a lot,” Belmonte said.
The $743 million 183 South Project is the biggest project in Central Texas, almost four times the size of the Mopac Improvement Project. Construction is two years in and has another two years to go before completion. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority said the project is still on schedule to wrap up in 2020.
Steve Pustelnyk with the CTRMA say they’re learning something new with every project, but one of their biggest takeaways from the Mopac Improvement Project and other projects is the process of moving underground utilities.
“Utility relocation isa major issue,” Pustelnyk said. “It took almost a year or more to relocate the utilities on this project. That did have some impact on our schedule, but again, allowed for that.”
In the next few months, construction will begin on re-building the Montopolis Bridge over US 183. That construction will close a portion of Montopolis Drive.
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