Road improvements at congested I-35 and Oltorf St. to begin Wednesday

TxDOT will make road improvements to the intersection at Oltorf St. and I-35, to help ease traffic congestion. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for the I-35 at Oltorf St. project.

TxDOT plans to add U-turn lanes both north and southbound at the intersection, and build new extended entrance and exit lanes.

“There’s a real short entrance ramp getting on south I-35 right at this intersection and it is dangerous,” says Brad McClellan, who works near I-35 and Oltorf St. “It causes a lot of people to slam on the brakes both ways and then it slows down traffic, it has a domino effect.”

TxDOT will also improve infrastructure on the I-35 frontage roads for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“In fact if it got safer, I think I would even go walking around that area more than right now, I just stay away from the dangerous places,” says Norma Henderson, who lives about a half mile from the intersection.

Henderson has lived in the same house for 48 years and tries to avoid Oltorf and I-35 when possible.

“It’s always been busy around here but not anywhere the traffic we have now, not at all,” said Henderson.

TxDOT plans to finish the project by spring of 2019.

This is part of the much bigger South 10 project. It stretches 10 miles between Riverside Drive down to State Highway 45 southeast, just south of Onion Creek. An express lane will be added in each direction.

An express lane is a little different than a regular toll lane. It’s a separate, dedicated lane for buses, vanpools and emergency vehicles. But it’s also open to other drivers willing to pay a toll that costs more when traffic is heavy, and costs less when traffic is light.

Construction on the express lane is scheduled to start in late 2019.

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