Highway 71 lane change leaves drivers confused

Traffic traveling towards Bastrop will now shift into the left lane under the Toll 130 flyover (KXAN Photo)
Traffic traveling towards Bastrop will now shift into the left lane under the Toll 130 flyover (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amy Reed’s usually smooth commute home from Austin to Bastrop turned into an unexpected traffic mess after a lane shift at State Highway 71 and the 130 Toll for work on the SH 71 Express Project.

“Yesterday when I got out there, traffic was barely moving,” she says.

Eastbound lanes were shifted continuing toward Bastrop to the new 130 Toll overpass, while the current lanes were reduced to allow for construction of the new eastbound travel lanes in this area. Reed says that many drivers were caught off guard by the changes and say there was a lack of warning from TxDOT. We spoke with department officials who say warning signs about the lane shift have been in place for the past 30 days and are still up to alert drivers. Plus, additional signs are in the process of being added in the area.

SH 71 AND SH 130 Lane Shift

Construction crews are also currently working on traffic signals to improve traffic flow in the area during this shift. However, Reed says not enough was not done to prepare drivers.

“I was cussing TxDOT,” she says, “[The department] really needs to do something about the signage out there. More awareness to let people know what’s going on.”

The weekend will bring even more changes, including a full closure of eastbound SH 71 from the northbound SH 130 frontage road to Onion Creek, before Ross Road. This will move all thru eastbound traffic to the overpass, and will still allow eastbound traffic to access north and southbound SH 130. A detour will be established for north and southbound SH 130 traffic wishing to access eastbound SH 71.

Drivers should take note that once the eastbound lanes are completed a similar shift will happen on the westbound side of the roadway. That’s scheduled to take place this summer. Drivers can also sign up for alerts about any construction changes.

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