Austin approves money for road revamp projects

(AP File Photo)
(AP File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Six months after voters approved a massive road bond to revamp roads across Austin, money has been allocated. It’s the largest hurdle because you can’t build roads without money.

“I’m actually looking forward to it, to see how it would really change. But we can’t really determine how it will effect the traffic pattern until it is on,” said Frankie Segura. He runs Revolution Vegan Kitchen in the Midway Food Park along Loop 360 in West Austin.

“There’s no turnaround here right across from the park and there’s already been a couple of accidents,” said Segura looking out at Loop 360.

There are nine traffic lights that slow the traffic down on the roadway.

The city approved $46 million to go with $204 million from the state so crews can build overpasses and underpasses. So if a driver wants to skip the traffic lights, they can.

Mayor Steve Adler says the entire bond will become reality in eight years but Loop 360 will be one of the first major projects.

“We have to put our resources where our significant pain points are and it is the promise we made to voters in November, that, that would be one of the projects that would be focused on with this bond,” said Mayor Adler.

Engineers are designing the upgrades now, hoping to begin construction in the next few years.

City council members in Austin also voted Thursday and approved $39 million of the $720 million mobility bond for the development and construction of several projects that are supposed to improve traffic in Austin.

The $39 million is divided as follows:

  • Regional Mobility:
    • $9 million for preliminary engineering on Spicewood Springs Road east of Loop 360, and funding for a partnership project with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) at RM 620 and RM 2222
  • Corridor Mobility:
    • $12 million for development of the Corridor Construction Program and the development of new Corridor Mobility Reports
  • Local Mobility:
    • $3 million for Bikeways
    • $2.5 million for Safety/Vision Zero
    • $4 million for Substandard Streets
    • $2 million for Sidewalks
    • $1.5 million Safe Routes to School
    • $5 million for Urban Trails

With the funding, the city will begin construction this fall on safety improvements at three of the locations listed in the 2016 “Top Crash Location Intersection Priorities” list.

They are:

  • Pleasant Valley Road and Elmont Drive
  • Slaughter Lane and South First Street
  • South Congress Avenue and Oltorf Street

Funding will also be used for a Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Plan. Improvements, as decided with help from local school districts, are anticipated to begin this fall.

Sidewalk improvements and TxDOT projects are also in line for funding from the mobility bond.

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