AUSTIN (KXAN) — Work is beginning on a major road project with a price tag of $743 million. It will allow people from Leander to drive all the way to Austin’s airport non-stop. Groundbreaking for the Bergstrom Expressway project starts Wednesday morning.
The expressway is a new toll road on U.S. Highway 183 from U.S. 290 East to State Highway 71. There will be 12 new lanes, half are going to be tolled. The project is expected to help with traffic and the economy. Additionally the number of stop lights on the frontage road will be reduced from five to two.
“We are looking for a huge benefit, roughly triple or quadruple the capacity of 183 as it is today,” said the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Mike Heiligenstein. “The economical benefits are going to be tremendous for East Austin and that part of the corridor.”
Most of the project is being paid for by private investors and grant funds. The toll for the eight mile stretch will cost drivers under $3.
The project will also have trails for cyclists and walkers. Seven miles of paths for cyclists and pedestrians will run along the northbound side of US 183. Bicycle-only lanes will be added along both the north and south bound sides of the highway along the frontage roads. Part of the construction will add new pedestrian bridges to cross over 183.
The first phase is expected to be ready by 2019, and the final phase a year later.