AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation will start work on building not one, but three direct connectors at Interstate 35 and US 183 in north Austin. Starting Wednesday crews will break ground on the $124.2 million project between Rundberg Lane and US 290 East.
Samantha McNeal is all too familiar with the backup on northbound I-35 to the US 183 ramp that tends to cause a traffic nightmare for people trying to merge onto the freeway. She says she’s curious to see how crews plan to improve the ramp. “More lanes, it’s just two lanes. If they had more lanes it would help out.”
Both I-35 and US 183 area serve as primary corridors through Austin but TxDOT says connectivity and mobility are lacking at the interchange because drivers are forced to use the congested frontage roads to move from one major highway to another.
Paul Perez commutes throughout the Austin-area daily for his job. He says it’s a matter of staying aware when exiting from one major highway to another. “You can only hope everyone is in the same driving level as you are,” said Perez.
To avoid those tricky situations, TxDOT plans to build flyovers from I-35 southbound to US 183 southbound, US 183 northbound to I-35 northbound and I-35 southbound to US 183 northbound.
Perez says the flyovers are needed but there’s a chance the additions could bring even more growth. “If that is the case it’ll be running smoother. But it’s going to be a high volume of traffic more. Cause bigger roads, bigger traffic.”
The St. Johns Avenue bridge is getting a facelift too. It’ll be rebuilt to include U-turns on both sides and be safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Anastaysia Monae Pearson says crossing the St. John’s Avenue bridge can be a gamble. “I see people speeding sometimes, being in a rush,” Pearson explains, “I am someone’s mother and I would like my kids to make it home safely.”
The project is expected to be complete in 2021.