Downtown road extension could give drivers new option

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin drivers could soon have a new option to get to the Hike and Bike Trail while avoiding some of the city’s busiest streets.

Pressler Street currently dead-ends just south of 5th Street, but an extension would give drivers a new way to get to places like Austin High School on Cesar Chavez without taking Lamar or going west of Mopac.

There will also be parking added around Reserve Road, which is the main route to Austin Pets Alive.

“I’m really concerned about the project because it dumps the downtown traffic going down 6th Street that want to get on the managed lanes right in front of where students are entering and exiting from school,” said Trevor Allen, an Austin High School parent.

City engineers say the new roadway will help many drivers commute through the area faster.

“It’s going to serve the entire community by providing an additional connection between the North Austin and South Austin across the railroad tracks,” said City of Austin engineer Alan Hughes.

The City of Austin is still conducting a traffic study in this area and results from the study are expected in early 2015. A final design will be presented to city council after that.

Funding for the project comes from a city of Austin transportation bond. Voters approved the $143 million bond two years ago. The bond includes $35 million dollars in street repairs, $25million for new sidewalks and $15 million for small projects along Interstate 35.

One of the most recent updates funded by the bond is Austin’s new Traffic Management System. There, city operators can adjust the timing of traffic lights if there’s a big back-up or special event.

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