TxDOT’s final I-35 south plan includes raised HOV lanes; bypass lane near Stassney, William Cannon

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday, the Texas Department of Transportation will present its final proposal for the Interstate 35 Capital Express South Project at a public hearing.

The $300 million project proposes adding two non-tolled high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) managed lanes in each direction along an eight-mile stretch of I-35. TxDOT says, “these lanes are typically located next to the general-purpose lanes and enable those who carpool or ride the bus to bypass traffic in the adjacent lanes. Lanes are identified as “2-plus” which refers to the minimum number of vehicle occupants to qualify.”

The I-35 Capital Express South Project runs from State Highway 71/Ben White Boulevard to State Highway 45 Southeast along I-35.

Between a section of SH 71 and Slaughter Lane, TxDOT would elevate the HOV lanes. They would also widen the north and southbound I-35 frontage roads to three lanes south of Slaughter Lane. Also proposed along the two-and-a-half-mile stretch, auxiliary lanes to enter and exit the highway as well as braided ramps northbound at Slaughter Lane.

Officials said this will let crews build a southbound I-35 intersection bypass lane at Stassney Lane and William Cannon Drive. That bypass lane would let drivers skip the light at the intersection.

Renderings of the HOV lanes along a section of the I-35 Capital Express South Project. (Source: TxDOT)

“If we left this section alone it will continue to get more and more congested and when we have congestion then we end up with a lot more interactions between people and people divert so if they’re not on I-35 they’re going to get off of I-35 and find a way around,” Diann Hodges, a TxDOT spokesperson said.

TxDOT said the elevated lanes would also make the road safer because it would reduce the number of spots where traffic could, for example, merge and potentially cause a crash.

Construction on the project could start as early as next year and take up to five years to complete.

Conflict points along I-35 (Source: TxDOT)

The public hearing will consist of a virtual and in-person meeting starting Tuesday morning from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the TxDOT South Travis/Hays County Area Office, 9725 S. I-35. TxDOT said those wishing to attend in person, must call (512) 766-3472 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make an appointment.

Those looking to attend virtually can do so by visiting my35capex.com.

TxDOT will receive public comment through May 26. People can comment online, by email at capexsouth@txdot.gov, by mail at Matthew Cho, P.E., 1608 W. 6th Street, Austin, TX 78703 or by voicemail by calling (512) 501-5451.

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