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Major weekend traffic snarls expected with start of highway construction

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Central Austin detours are part of $124.2 million flyover and bridge projects

A billboard with the text “ I love Traffic” is seen through the multistacked interchange between Interstate 35 and US-183 in North Austin.
Interstate Highway 35 and US 183
Corbis via Getty Images

A major highway construction project will require lane closures and detours on a highly trafficked stretch of IH-35 in North Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday. The closures and lane changes, which start at 9 p.m. Friday, expected to cause major slowdowns this weekend.

The weekend closures will shift northbound I-35 traffic to southbound lanes at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 290 East for the weekend, cutting the number of lanes from eight to four (two each way) from U.S. 290 to Rundberg Lane until 5 a.m Monday. On- and off-ramps on the one-mile stretch, including the flyover from northbound I-35 to U.S. 183, will not be accessible during that time. That stretch of I-35 normally sees about about 225,000 vehicles a day, the Statesman reported.

TxDOT flyover and bridge project

The I-35 closures will are part of a $124.2 million Texas Department of Transportation project to build three flyovers from that highway to U.S. 183. The Congress for New Urbanism this year declared a 66-mile stretch of I-35 in around Austin, which includes the area where the new flyovers will be be built, one of the U.S. “Freeways Without Futures.”

The project, which TxDot expects to complete in mid-2012, also includes improvements to the St. Johns Avenue bridge over I-35. TxDOT is also overhauling the St. Johns Avenue bridge.

Long-term detours in East Austin

Thursday’s Statesman article also noted that more long-term detours related to bridge construction on Hwy. 183 will have a significant affect on traffic to and from the downtown Austin area.

A detour related to the impending demolition and replacement of the northbound bridge of U.S. 183 over the Colorado River by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority will send downtown-bound drivers on the highway’s untolled northbound lanes on a detour to Bolm Road instead of the exits they usually use (Seventh, Fifth, and Cesar Chavez streets and Airport Boulevard).

From Bolm Road, drivers will have to cross over the highway and travel south access western routes toward downtown. That change also necessitates the installation of temporary traffic signal that will create southbound delays as well. Hergotz Lane at U.S. 183 in will be closed.

The mobility authority will close the northbound bridge Saturday, starting with lane closures as early as 6 p.m. and completing them overnight. About 70,000 drivers per day normally use that stretch of highway, according to the Statesman.

The mobility authority expects the $743 million 183 South Project, which broke ground in 2016, to be completed in 2020.

Northern phase of Highway 183 project almost complete

The CTRMA expects the first phase of the Texas 183 South project, between US 290/290 Toll roads and Techni Center Drive, to be complete and the road opened in August. It recently set toll rates in anticipation of opening, with rates set to increase when the full highway is complete.