AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sidelined… by the pandemic… the process of helping ease congestion on U.S. Highway 183 in southeast Travis County is getting back on track.

More cars are driving the stretch of road each day, but the road hasn’t been improved to keep up. Traffic anchor Erica Brennes reports, that will soon change.

“This morning, I’m sailing through, right and I’m thinking why is there no traffic? It’s a Wednesday–a lot of people go to the office on Wednesdays, right? And then boom, I hit the backup,” Bradley Wheelis.

TxDOT spokesperson Brad Wheelis knows the struggles drivers face on Hwy 183 in Southeast Austin because he deals with them every day, “Right now most of that section of 183 is a four-lane roadway. There’s a big divided section there as well. But we know that we need to accommodate the growth, not only the growth we’ve seen so far but that in the future.”

On the north side of Hwy 183 at the intersection of 71, there has been a 43 percent increase in vehicle traffic since 2013.

The latest numbers show 43,000 people drive through that spot every day, compared to 30 thousand ten years ago.

On the south side at Hwy 183 and SH 45 traffic is up 73 percent in the same time frame!
In 2021 the count showed 26 thousand drivers a day, compared to 15 thousand a day in 2013.

One of the big issues is the traffic lights on Hwy 183 at McKenzie Dr, FM 812, Burleson Rd, and William Cannon Dr.

So TxDOT is considering adding underpasses or overpasses at those intersections, as well as a lane in each direction between 71 and SH 45.

“We know that we can’t build our way out of congestion. But we can help mitigate that congestion. We can improve mobility, we can improve safety,” said Wheelis

Funding for the project has not been earmarked, but the environmental study is underway and TxDOT says there will likely be another public meeting on the recommended changes this Fall.

You can find more information on the project here.