AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting this week and into next, drivers will begin to notice crews doing some work along a nine-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 183 between State Highway 45 North and MoPac Expressway that includes the removal of brush and more.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board of Directors broke ground on the project virtually in late January with a virtual “ground-building” that involved a ceremonial tree planting. The event acknowledged Round Rock Independent School District educators at five schools which are located along the 183 North Project corridor.
“This is one of those projects that have desperately been needed by the region, just for the growth that’s been occurring in the corridor, especially out towards Cedar Park, Leander and now even Liberty Hill,” said Mike Sexton, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s acting director of engineering.
The Mobility Authority plans to add two toll lanes in each direction. The toll lanes will be built in the median of the highway. Plans also call for an additional non-toll lane along sections of 183 bringing the total to four lanes and two toll lanes in each direction on US 183 between 45 North and MoPac.
For one soon-to-be new business owner setting up shop along US 183 near Anderson Mill Road, the project is necessary.
“There’s no questioning talking about is it necessary? If you have to do it? No, it is too late to ask this question,” said Adnan Cokadar. ” Austin needs these upgrades. I think after this doubling the capacity from three lanes to six lanes basically each way that’s nice but after a decade it won’t be enough again.”
After facing months of supply chain issues and delays, Cokadar is finally getting ready to open his new business Cabinetto. He is looking forward to what the project will bring in terms of mobility to the area but worries about the duration of the project. CTRMA estimates it will take four and a half years to complete.
“The worst part for me when I see the project is the duration. Four years. It is too long and for nine miles, in 2022, it is absurd,” said Cokadar. “Nonsense.”
Longtime Anderson Mill neighbor and Anderson Mill Neighborhood Association President Phil Denney is concerned about what the construction phase could mean for his neighborhood.
“Our biggest concern is going to be, and it’s already a concern, but cut-through traffic through Anderson Mill neighborhood,” he said.
However, Denney agrees with Cokadar in that both men said the project is needed. Cokadar said he would like to see the project get done in two years.
“Four years, again, too bad,” he said. “It has to be increased. I mean double up to make it shorter.”
The $612 million dollar project is expected to wrap up in early 2026. CTRMA officials said the majority of the work will take place overnight to minimize disruption to daytime traffic.
Crews will start with the removal of brush and then eventually later in the spring and into the summer, CTRMA officials said, “work will focus on the installation of high mast lighting along US 183, construction of median access points and pavement grinding on the US 183 general-purpose lanes.”
Officials added, “They will not begin earthwork for the express lanes, driveways, and sidewalks reconstruction will likely occur from mid-late summer and into 2023.”
This project would be another option for drivers traveling on 183A Toll. Right now, there is an ongoing extension of that toll road in the Liberty Hill area.
“183A it would have been nice if maybe it would have been done a year earlier but I tell you what it’s going to be wonderful, it’s going to move some people,” said Chris Pezold, Liberty HIll Council Member Place 1.
It’s an area Pezold said is growing rapidly.
“All of the economists from Williamson County are saying that Liberty Hill could be the largest city in the county in the future and that is mind-blowing so being the council we are really trying to preserve the historical aspect of Liberty Hill,” he added.
Phase three of the 183A Toll near Liberty Hill is expected to wrap up in 2025.
The 183 North Project will also add or reconstruct about 11 miles of sidewalks along the 183 corridor. Tom Wald Executive Director of the Red Line Parkway has spent several years in the community involved in enhancing walking and biking paths. He first heard about the 183 North Project a couple of years ago when he was involved with Bike Austin. He said he would like to see more money dedicated to making improvements for bicycles and pedestrians.
“I feel like with the limited amount of resources that are being applied for walking and biking in this project I feel like it’s a pretty good job, but for such a large project, I mean hundreds of millions of dollars, they could’ve applied more resources to walking and biking,” said Wald.
To date, CTRMA’s total investment in bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in the region total $47 million.
- An 8-foot wide Shared Use Path to connect the Jollyville Road bike lanes to the bike lanes on Pond Springs, a distance of approximately 1,600 feet.
- An 8-foot wide Shared Use Path from bike lanes on Pond Springs to the bike lanes on Lake Creek Parkway adjacent to the US 183 northbound frontage road, a distance of approximately 2,600 feet.
- Sidewalks along the US 183 northbound and southbound frontage roads from RM 620/SH 45 North to Loop 360 in locations where sidewalks do not currently exist.
- Cross street connections for bicyclists consisting of bike lanes in each direction, created by re-striping the existing cross street pavement.