What will it look like if TxDOT removes the I-35 upper deck in Austin?

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — In fall 2020, the Texas Department of Transportation released three design concepts for the future of Interstate 35 through downtown.

All three concepts proposed getting rid of the upper deck and adding two free HOV lanes. This is part of the transportation agency’s I-35 Capital Express Central project stretching from U.S. Highway 290 East to State Highway 71/Ben White Boulevard.

Thursday, the transportation agency will host its second public virtual scoping meeting and will once again ask the community for feedback. TxDOT officials said they received more than 2,300 comments following the first public virtual scoping meeting last fall.

“If we can improve I-35 we are going to improve the traffic on every one of the side streets around it because people won’t have to get off of I-35 to find a way around the congestion,” said Diann Hodges, a spokesperson for TxDOT.

All three design concepts propose getting rid of the upper deck and adding two free HOV lanes.

The first design would take the free HOV lanes underground.

While the second and third concepts are similar — both would lower the mainlanes and the HOV lanes would run alongside.

But new animations give drivers an idea of what it would look like if TxDOT removed the interstate’s upper deck.

There is also a no-build option that would keep I-35 as it is now. The second virtual meeting is open for comment and consists of a virtual presentation. The public has through Friday, April 9 to comment then TxDOT plans to host its first open house this summer. TxDOT officials do not expect to have a design selection until fall 2022.

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