New interchange proposed for South MoPac intersection

Drawings for a proposed diverging diamond intersection in Southwest Austin.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin traffic can be a real headache, but some say it is especially bad in the southwest part of the city.

“It’s frustrating because there’s no real way to anticipate what it’s going to be in a given day,” said Matt McDougall, who is very familiar with the traffic delays in that part of town.

Those involved in the MoPac South Project hope to make his commute a little smoother. Their plans include building a ‘diverging diamond’ intersection at Slaughter Lane and MoPac. A diverging diamond helps drivers trying to turn left move more quickly through the intersection by crossing through two signal lights without stopping, moving in a diamond pattern. The design is also meant to reduce wait times at signal lights.

In addition to drivers, transportation officials are also looking at the impact these changes could have on people who live in this area.

“People are concerned about construction in the neighborhoods, the effect on traffic with construction,” said Rick L’Amie with the Central Texas regional Mobility Authority. “We’ve been getting lots of different kinds of feedback.”

This is all part of a year-long environmental study to determine the best ways to improve mobility and safety along the stretch of MoPac from Cesar Chavez to Slaughter Lane.

“Anything that can get me out of this intersection faster, I’m all for,” McDougall said.

The project would also call for a new interchange at the intersection that would allow for traffic to continue on Mopac without stopping.

Round Rock officials have already decided a diverging diamond is the best way to relieve traffic at one of its most congested intersections. In October, construction crews began work at Interstate 35 and FM 1423. About $7 million has been set aside for the project. It will cover the cost of rebuilding the intersection, improving ramps in the area and adding sidewalks.

This story comes from our partnership with Community Impact Newspaper. You can read more about the proposed plans in the next edition or online.

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