TxDOT proposes elevated HOV lanes along south I-35 near SH 71

Traffic

AUSTIN (KXAN) — TxDOT is looking to improve a busy section of Interstate 35 to make more room for drivers.

Officials are proposing changes to the south Austin section of the congested highway from State Highway 71 and Ben White Boulevard to State Highway 45 Southeast near Buda.

It’s part of the transportation agency’s I-35 Capital Express Program. Thursday, transportation officials will launch a virtual presentation to hear from the public.

TxDOT officials are proposing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes stretching along the entire section. Only vehicles with two or more people will be allowed to drive on them. TxDOT would elevate the HOV lanes between a section of SH 71 and Slaughter Lane. This way, they will have space to build a southbound I-35 intersection bypass lane at Stassney Lane and William Cannon Drive. The bypass lane will allow drivers to skip the light.

They would also widen the north and southbound I-35 frontage roads to three lanes south of Slaughter Lane and add two-and-a-half miles of auxiliary lanes to enter and exit the highway as well as braided ramps northbound at Slaughter Lane. TxDOT said all of these improvements will keep drivers moving safely.

“It’s going to take some time and work, but that’s what you call growing pains, we all have to go through growing pains,” said Willie Perkins, an I-35 driver.

A rendering of the elevated HOV lanes along a section of the I-35 Capital Express South Project. (Source: TxDOT)

Other improvements include shared-use paths along the highway.

The $300 million project is funded through TxDOT. Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and could take up to four years to complete. Those who would like to comment have two weeks to share their feedback. The comment period ends on Friday, Dec. 18.

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