AUSTIN (KXAN)- State Highway 71 is a major route for drivers headed to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and central Texas communities in Eastern Travis and Bastrop counties, plus traffic traveling to and from Houston. The Texas Department of Transportation says that the road carries more than 50,000 cars a day.
TxDOT is proposing to the Capital Planning Metropolitan Organization to consider adding funding for two overpass bridges: one at SH 71 and Kellam Road, the other at SH 71 and Ross Road.
TxDOT officials said that the additional overpasses would improve mobility by allowing SH 71 thru-traffic to move in the area without stopping at the signal lights. Last month, the SH 71 Express Project was opened to drivers.
We asked TxDOT officials why work on the overpasses wasn’t rolled into that project. TxDOT spokesperson, Diann Hodges explains that projects like this aren’t always connected. “These were never planned to be a toll road, so there would be no reason to put them in with a project that would end up being a toll road,” Hodges said.
In addition, new frontage roads would be built along the overpasses to allow local travelers access to Ross and Kellam Roads. Bicycle and pedestrian paths would also be improved and expanded, as a part of this proposed project.
Currently, this project is in the environmental study phase. If environmental clearance is approved then a final design will be completed.
TxDOT hopes to break ground in 2019 with the overall project done by 2021. TxDOT is also proposing overpasses for three other intersections along SH 71 in Bastrop County — Farm to Market 1209, Pope Bend Road and Tucker Hill Road in Cedar Creek.