AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three weeks ago, southbound lanes of North MoPac were re-striped at Lady Bird Lake to accommodate traffic exiting from the new express lane. As express lane drivers got their own lane, incoming drivers from Winsted Lane lost their dedicated lane — forcing them to merge into traffic and adding to the evening commute.
Drivers say the driver to the main lanes of MoPac from Enfield Road or Winsted Lane has never been a dream, but now it’s a nightmare.
“It’s really awful,” says a frequent MoPac driver. “I got off the highway early so that I could use the back roads, and still they were all crowded, too. It’s really a hassle. There were so many people lined up on this road, too, to get on or off the highway.”
Steve Pustelnyk with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says, ultimately, expansion is the answer, but in the meantime, they’re looking at potential changes.
“The merge is not as smooth as it could be,” Pustelnyk says. “We’ve already seen improvements since the time the change has been in place and we’ll expect that to continue. At this point, we are doing traffic modeling and analyzing the situation and we don’t have any obvious solutions yet, but we are continuing to look at the situation to see if there are any options that are available that might be viable.”
Pustelnyk says the agency has received approximately a dozen complaints about the re-striping/merge issues.
“It’s a very challenging area,” Pustelnyk says. “You have the Lake Austin Boulevard off-ramp, which causes friction with the cars trying to get on, and then you just have a significant flow of traffic coming out of downtown at rush hour.”
KXAN asked the city of Austin if they’re planning to adjust the timing of traffic signals on nearby roads used to get onto the ramps to help cut back on some of the delays. They tell us adjusting signals on the streets would cause delays for drivers traveling in the opposite direction from those trying to reach MoPac, but they’re keeping an eye on how the express lanes are impacting the side streets and may make adjustments later.