AUSTIN (KXAN) — One… two… three signs.
We counted several new overhead signs alerting drivers to the new State Highway 71 Express toll lane. Each sign saying something different about whether the ramp is open or closed.
Armond Prince commutes on SH 71 daily and says the current setup is far too confusing, especially for out-of-towners. “The signs may be digital and they may have a little orange sign here and there, but you’re having to pay attention to all the other construction and all the traffic next to you,” says Prince.
KXAN started looking into the problem earlier this month when several drivers reported that new signage indicated the SH 71 toll was open but it wasn’t and if you stay in the left lane you’re forced onto SH 130, unless you quickly merge over to the right lane. As of this week, construction barrels currently block the left lane—that eventually turns into the ramp for the new toll—to help indicate the closure under exit ramp signs that are not labeled with an orange “closed” sticker.
Officials with the SH 71 Express Project say the new signage for the SH 71 East Toll was installed about two weeks ago. Electronic message boards were also put up at that time alerting eastbound drivers that the toll lane is closed for through-traffic. The message boards were moved for a short period of time for additional construction and were placed back with the closure stickers last week.
Prince believes construction crews can make the closure even more apparent. “If the exits aren’t open the signs should be covered that way there’s no confusion on where you need to go.”
Construction on the SH 71 Express Project started in 2015 and was scheduled to be complete in October 2016. The ribbon cutting has now been pushed back to Feb. 28.
In order to finish by the end of this month, various single lanes closures of the eastbound and westbound SH 71 roads at Spirit of Texas Drive are scheduled overnight through Feb. 18.
- Thursday, Feb. 16 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Friday, Feb. 17 from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 18 from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m.