AUSTIN (KXAN) — Interstate 35 may not be the prettiest road to travel (it’s especially ugly when it’s stacked with rush hour traffic), but the Texas Department of Transportation is not only working to make safety and mobility improvements to the interstate from Rundberg Lane to Woodland Avenue, it’s also taking into account how pleasing the road could be to the eye.
TxDOT has developed three aesthetic concepts for I-35 that they want drivers to weigh in on. The concepts are variations of how things like murals, native plants and shared used paths could be included along the interstate. Kenneth Boyd often finds himself in traffic along I-35 and says that the aesthetics are important but they need to keep people safe.
Kenneth Boyd often finds himself sitting in traffic along I-35 and says the aesthetics are important but the biggest need is to keep drivers and even pedestrians safe.
“I think everything should be a safety issue. I think if you can minimize pedestrians and keep them out of the way of traffic, it’ll be a safer city,” says Boyd.
With congestion on I-35 only expected to worsen (nine hours by 2040), some have wondered why beautifying the freeway is even on the list. TxDOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna says aesthetics are a part of every project and is included in the project’s budget, which runs around 3-5 percent of the overall cost.
“Regardless of the project, you’re going to need these aesthetics elements. This just allows us the opportunity to not only look nice, as well as, serve a technical purpose,” explains Reyna.
Approximately 2,000 people have completed the survey, but they want more input. The survey closes on Aug. 9. The winning concept could also be applied to other projects currently under development, such as the St. Johns bridge reconstruction and the Central 7 project, which includes improvements from U.S. 183 to Riverside Drive.