AUSTIN (KXAN) — As areas like Cedar Park, Leander and Liberty Hill grow more popular for people to move, traffic is increasing along a stretch of US 183.
Specifically, between State Highway 45 North and the MoPac — a route that many take to reach downtown Austin.
The 183 North Project, a new $612 million project in northwest Austin and will reduce travel times and improve mobility for commuters, local drivers, visitors to the region, and people who prefer to use public transit, ride their bike or walk.
The 183 North Project will add a toll lane in each direction, adding a fourth lane of traffic on stretches of the highway where right now there are only three. It’ll add direct connections to the MoPac express lanes.
Mike Sexton, Acting Director of Engineering with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, says this is a community project.
“Something that will help daily commuters going from North Austin or Cedar Park or outside regions to the downtown Austin corridor,” says Sexton. “It will those people trying to get to the airport.”
The extra lanes will also help first responders get to emergencies and and help Capitol Metro bus services stay on schedule. And there’s even something new for Austin’s cycling community. The project will add approximately 1.5 miles of new bike lanes along the major streets crossing US 183 and approximately a half mile of new shared use path.
These additions will provide much-needed connections and close existing gaps, ensuring a network of continuous bike lanes between SH 45 and MoPac. The project will also add or reconstruct, where needed, approximately 11 miles of sidewalks along the US 183 corridor to ensure compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
“There are several sections where the sidewalk ends abruptly or you just can’t bike across the roadway anymore because the bike lane ends or there is no way to get from one side of the street to the other,” explains Sexton.
But if you’re asking, “Why more tolls?”
“If we were to do this project in a non-tolled capacity, those lanes would fill immediately,” says Sexton. “People would realize there’s an open route and by adding those lanes people would be back in them filling them up, we’d be back in that same situation of unreliable travel times and unreliable transit.”
Construction will for the 183 North Project will start early next year. Drivers can start taking it in 2026.
The price tag for the 183 North Project will be covered by the Texas Transportation Commission, which approved $104.2 million in federal funding for the non-tolled portion of the roadway. The remainder of the project will be financed by the Mobility Authority using available and flexible funding mechanisms such as the sale of toll revenue bonds and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funds.