Austin’s 5th most dangerous intersection sees improvements

Changes coming to I-35 and MLK Blvd. to increase safety and ease traffic congestion (KXAN Photo/ Amanda Dugan)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you thought the area around Interstate 35 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was bad enough, it’s about to get worse before it gets better. Starting Sunday, Sept. 11, the Austin Transportation Department will start working on improving the intersection deemed one of the top five most dangerous intersections in Austin.

While there won’t be any major closures of the I-35 frontage roads during construction, drivers should be aware that there will be right-turn lane closures along MLK Jr. Boulevard at various times. The city hopes to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians by retooling the roadway markings and installing enhanced pedestrian safety features such as a raised crosswalk and ADA accessible ramps.

In February, the city helped ease traffic slightly by modifying the timing of the signals on eastbound and westbound left-turn lanes on MLK Jr. Boulevard.

The work on the intersection will cost the city around $215,000 and is expected to be completed in mid-October. Work on all five of the dangerous intersections is estimated to cost the city a total of $3 million.

The five most dangerous intersections are ranked in order by the most crashes, rate and severity.

  1. Changes coming to I-35 and MLK Blvd. to increase safety and ease traffic congestion (KXAN Photo/ Amanda Dugan)
    Changes coming to I-35 and MLK Blvd. to increase safety and ease traffic congestion (KXAN Photo/ Amanda Dugan)

    W Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road: ($1,500,000) The crashes here usually occur at the driveways close to the intersection where drivers make unsafe left turns. Work is expected to start spring 2017.

  2. N. Lamar Blvd and Rundberg Lane: ($525,000) Crashes here are from drivers making unprotected turns from driveways. Proposal to add raised medians restricting driveway access along Lamar. Work is expected to start November 2016.
  3. N. Lamar Blvd and Parmer Lane: ($525,000) The majority of crashes here occur when cars don’t reduce speeds causing rear-endings. The project wants to improve turn lanes forcing drivers to yield and decrease speeds. Work is expected to start January 2017.
  4. U.S. 183 Service Rd and Cameron Rd: ($900,000) Crashes on both service roads. Modifications to the southbound turn lanes and an additional lane will make this area safer for crossing pedestrians. Work is expected to start October 2016.
  5. IH-35 Service Rd Southbound and Martin Luther King: ($375,000) Vehicles cause crashes here on the southbound frontage road crossing lanes to MLK. Changes would be made to the southbound right only lane making it an optional through traffic lane. The eastbound turn lane would also be improved to make it safer for pedestrians, forcing vehicles to slow down. Work is starting now!

Last year, the intersection of Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road saw immediate improvements after a nine-vehicle crash killed a woman. City crews installed yellow posts to prevent drivers from cutting across four lanes of traffic.

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