AUSTIN (KXAN) – The First Street bridge is one of only a few ways to cross from South to North Austin. Later this year, the bridge will see a major revamp. Amanda Dugan spoke with Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar about the changes coming our way. You can watch the interview above or read the transcript below.

AMANDA DUGAN, KXAN NEWS: I’m joined by Austin Transportation Director Robert Spillar. We’re going to be discussing some upcoming projects his team is focusing on Rob, thank you for joining me.


AMANDA: Can you speak on there’s $19 million set aside for local transit enhancement. Now we already have Project Connect, can you explain how this would be different from that work?

ROB: One of the major projects is we’re looking at how we can extend transit priority across the south first bridge that involves some sidewalk work and some bike work to move the bikes and pedestrians off of the main deck. (We’re doing this) so that we can then have a little bit more space on the bridge to create room for some transit priority across the bridge. And there’ll be more about that coming out over the next months over the next six to 12 months as we design.

But we’re looking for similar things all over town where we can make those little bitty tweaks of improvements to improve the efficiency of the system and the customer service characteristics of the system on behalf of transit.

AMANDA: Interesting. So South First Street Bridge will be getting a facelift?

ROB: We’re in the design process. We’ll be talking to the public so you scooped me I guess, but you know, we’re being very thoughtful about how we proceed with that and looking at how we can.

It’s such an important link in our roadway network for transit, because transit headed southbound across the south first bridge, that’s really the stretch of roadway where it redistributes to go east and south. From all coming south, it has to redistribute across the bridge. And so how do we do that efficiently to make those movements reliable and that’s really the opportunity and then also coming northbound? How do we collect from both eastbound westbound travel and northbound travel and get it into the downtown transit lanes efficiently? So that’s what we’re working on.