SOUTHEAST TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — People living along Farm-to-Market Road 973 say traffic has exploded.
They have noticed traffic has steadily increased over the years, with the latest rise happening over the last year. Residents believe the recent spike in traffic is due to the ongoing construction at the new Tesla Gigafactory.
Texas Department of Transportation’s traffic maps show in 2019, 29,232 drivers traveled along FM 973 near State Highway 71. Compare that to just two years before in 2017 when only around 10,647 drivers passed through daily.
“If you’re in a hurry to get out, it’s just hard because you have to watch on your left, on your right and then sometimes there’s been crashes just getting out of here because a lot of cars are speeding and don’t go the normal speed limit. Then we just can’t get out and a lot of people in a hurry, so they just end up crashing,” said Giselle Nieto, who has lived in the area for 12 years.
TxDOT said it is aware the area is growing and getting busier — and the agency is working on it. They have several projects planned they said will enhance safety and mobility. Projects include widening the road by adding one lane in each direction with a continuous center-turn lane between FM 969 and Thyone Drive. A new traffic signal at the intersection of FM 973 and Harold Green Road as well as turn lanes along FM 973.
TxDOT officials said they’re “working closely with Tesla to provide improvements that will mitigate traffic generated by construction of the new plant.”