AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation is working to upgrade multiple intersections along the 14-mile corridor of Loop 360.
Most recently, TxDOT decided to combine the 3.5-mile stretch of road from Ranch to Market Road 2244 to MoPac Expressway into one project. This includes the intersections of Walsh Tarlton Lane, Westbank Drive and Lost Creek Boulevard.
“Rolling these intersections into one project will help streamline the environmental process,” Brad Wheelis, a TxDOT spokesperson said.
Proposed improvements along this section of Loop 360 includes removing the traffic signals and adding new overpasses at Walsh Tarlton Lane and Lost Creek Boulevard. At Westbank Drive, TxDOT is considering either an overpass or an underpass. Along this entire section of Loop 360, transportation officials are also proposing adding frontage roads.
“This will help ensure safe access to the businesses and residences in the area as well as help keep traffic moving,” Wheelis said.
For Vanessa Wilkerson, the co-owner of Ace Tailors located at the intersection of Walsh Tarlton Lane and Loop 360, access is her biggest concern. She believes a U-turn could be the solution to improving accessibility for her customers.
“Easy access, yes, that would be lovely,” she said smiling. “Most of the time (customers) say, ‘I had to go through this exit, and that exit, I couldn’t find you.'”
Over 50,000 drivers make their way through this section each day. It’s home to shopping centers like the Village at Westlake and Barton Creek Square Mall, as well as several schools including Westlake High School.
At present, traffic has been light in the pandemic, but TxDOT said its actively working to improve the corridor because they only expect the population to continue growing saying, “More than two million people live in the Austin area today, and that number is expected to double by 2040.”
Wilkerson said she’s ready for and welcomes change.
“It’ll be sweet to see something better,” she said about the proposed changes.
The virtual workshop goes live online at 10 a.m. Wednesday and will be available for the next two weeks. TxDOT is asking drivers for feedback on the proposed improvements.
Transportation officials expect to wrap up the environmental in 2022 with construction set for mid-2025 at a price tag of $125 million.
TxDOT is also working on improving six other intersections along Loop 360. It includes Spicewood Springs Road, Lakewood Drive, R-M 22-22, Courtyard Drive, Westlake Drive and Cedar Street.