MoPac construction zone causes confusion for drivers

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since construction started along MoPac last month, drivers have complained about being confused while traveling through the work zone.

On Tuesday morning, a driver rear-ended a Travis County deputy working traffic control for the MoPac Improvement Project. The deputy was taken to the hospital, but was expected to be OK.

“I just try to avoid it as much as possible, but I really don’t have alternatives. I have to go that route,” said Sarah Ferniza, who has had to add extra time to her commute down the highway, even late at night. “It’s pretty bad. It’s backed up like 5 p.m. traffic (late at night). I think it’s bad at any time of the evening.”

For some drivers, congestion isn’t the only problem. Confusion over which lanes are closed, and when, have motorists frustrated.

“It looks like there’s four lanes, but there’s just really three,” said Jason Keas, who drives MoPac every day for work. “That’s the part I have trouble with.”

Highway closure signAdditional message boards giving drivers enough warning to take different routes and alleviate some of the backup have also been erected, a spokesperson for the MoPac Improvement Project said.

Police patrols have also been beefed up through the construction zone because of what they call a speeding problem. The speed limit is 55 mph, but many drivers are still ignoring the reduced limits.

“The road itself has changed,” said Cpl. Chad Martinka with the Austin Police Department. “There’s no longer any shoulder in the construction zone. There’s no room for error once you’re in the construction zone.”

The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2015.

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