AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) says it’s the story people aren’t talking about. Fixated on MoPac, instead of another massive undertaking: The 8-mile 183 South project.
The project will transform the corridor many people use to get to and from the airport into an expressway with three lanes in each direction. And it will include toll lanes.
The prime time for construction work is after 8 p.m. or before 6 a.m. So for drivers using the route to get to the airport for an early morning flight, keep in mind you’ll be met with more delays in the coming months.
KXAN spoke with people who live and work in the area about the impact the work has already had on them. Sasha Middleton works at a gas station in the crosshairs of construction.
“Because of the traffic, we lose a lot of business because the main entrance is blocked,” Middleton said, saying cars tend to drive right by the other entrance, or cut through the parking lot to avoid backups at the nearby light.
“If it’s in the afternoon, it’ll definitely take me like 30 minutes to get here,” Middleton said, saying a typical trip should only take her 5 minutes.
The big delays make more sense when you consider what CTRMA’s Steve Pustelnyk told KXAN.
“One of the biggest projects a local government entity has ever built is on 183 heading down to the airport,” he said, explaining the SH 45 SW project is about $70 million, the Mopac North Express Lane is $200 million and the 183 South project is a whopping $743 million.
“It’s 3-4 times the MoPac project in terms of its cost and scope. So it’s a massive undertaking, it’s essentially a mega project,” Pustelnyk said.
The first phase of the project is on schedule to open by 2019, with a completion date in 2020.
The best way to stay on top of the changes are through the 183 South website and Twitter page, to help you plan your day. You can also sign up for text and email alerts and look for any developments through KXAN’s traffic reporter, Amanda Dugan.