AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you drive through Central Austin, a key street will be chopped down to just two lanes, and it could make a mess for commuters.
City officials will shut down North Lamar Boulevard between 24th and 28th Streets for the next four to six weeks. Electronic signs have been up for several weeks on North Lamar, letting drivers know a section of the road will be closed.
Southbound lanes will be shut down between Lamar’s intersection with 24th Street and 28th. Northbound lanes will become two-way traffic.
The closures will remain in place 24 hours a day.
“The reason is so we save time in the overall duration of the construction, otherwise we would have to set up and break down everyday,” said Morgan Byars, Supervising Engineer with Watershed Protection. “It gives the construction workers a longer period of time during the day to work and it gives them the opportunity to work weekends as well.”
Residents who live near North Lamar are not looking forward to the closure.
“I am worried,” said Sofia Martinez. “I try to avoid it at 5:00 already. It’s already stopped. So, I have no idea. Honestly, I have no idea, whether people will use MoPac more. Burnet (Road) doesn’t come down this far. Guadalupe’s (Street) a mess. There aren’t a lot of alternates for Lamar.”
The closures will allow for the sewer line to be removed from Shoal Creek and placed under Lamar Boulevard. The construction is part of a bigger project of restoring Shoal Creek, the park, and the trails around it. Around 3,000 feet of eroded creek bank will be reinforced.
“The sewer line is currently being eroded, there’s not much in the creek bed but sand and gravel that washes away with the big floods,” said Byars. “South of 24th street the sewer line is actually in the bedrock of the channel which actually gives it better stability,”
“When it rains, Shoal Creek just floods,” said Alice Hart, who also lives just off of N. Lamar and walks along the trail by the creek often. “You can see the debris. Sometimes it’s across the path.”
Officials believe the project will also help with storm water runoff and help restore native vegetation.
The goal is to have the road construction complete before the kids return to school.
City officials said they would adjust the traffic signals to try and keep cars moving as best they can.