Interstate 35 and US 183 land millions for improvements

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation has been approved to receive $2.5 billion in funding for 19 projects statewide to improve commutes. The governing body for TxDOT approved the money, which comes from the voter approved Proposition 7, which dedicated more state dollars to the State Highway Fund. Austin will get  $415.6 million to relieve congestion.

Some of the big projects are along I-35 at Riverside Drive down to Oltorf. With $162 million, as early as this fall, TxDOT will reconstruct the Riverside bridge over I-35 to make it wider and taller. Crews will add bypass lanes to lessen the congestion at traffic signals along the frontage roads.

“When you add a bypass lane so you don’t have to stop at a signal, even if it saves you two minutes that’s two minutes of time that you are no longer stuck at a signal or two or three cycles of a signal but you are able to move on your way a little bit faster,” says Kelli Reyna, TXDot Spokeswoman.

The on and off ramps in that area will also be reconstructed  to make them more efficient so they don’t back up.

Another project will lead to a new on-ramp leading from northbound I-35 to 183 N. TxDOT says the ramp is too steep and it causes cars to stop at the bottom and 18-wheelers have a hard time going up.

A third project could improve the commute for residents from North Austin to Cedar Park. $120 million will be spent to add one additional lane in each direction along US 183 from SH45 down to Mopac.

“It’s going to be a huge project that is going to greatly enhance again not only the safety of that roadway but the mobility and traffic flow,” says Reyna.

The US 183 project goes out to bid in 2019. The other projects could get underway by the end of the year, TXDot is waiting to finish the design but says complete funding is now in place for the projects.

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