Drivers worried about lack of lighting along Montopolis Bridge

Car driving on Montopolis Bridge at night. Some drivers are worried about the lack of lighting. (KXAN Photo)
Car driving on Montopolis Bridge at night. Some drivers are worried about the lack of lighting. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Driving through an area that is under construction is a challenge in itself, but imagine that commute with hit-or-miss overhead lighting. People who live in east Austin say they can barely see the road along sections of US 183 and it’s causing them concern.

“It’s pretty dangerous. It’s really dark out here at night,” says Frank Monreal, who has lived in the Montopolis area for nearly 60 years. “It’s confusing a lot of the people who don’t usually come over the bridge.”

Monreal says the lighting on the Montopolis Bridge has been unreliable prior to construction starting on the 183 South Project. “This is also used for people riding their bicycles and hiking through here. It all has to do with safety,” says Monreal.

The construction on the massive 183 South Project is currently underway and Steve Pustelnyk with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says it’s not unusual to encounter dark spots in construction zones as they’re not always able to maintain lighting.

“Some areas we are working with the city of Austin to get new electrical service provided,” Pustelnyk says. “There’s going to be areas that are dark and where you are not going to be able to maintain highway lighting throughout the project.”

However, in areas where cars are merging, Pustelnyk says those areas are required to have lighting during a construction process.

Pustelnyk says temporary lighting on the Montopolis Bridge is not an option because there is nowhere to place it, but the agency is working with Austin Energy to get new power service provided to have those lights back on.

Once the 183 South Project is completed the Montopolis Bridge will be converted into a bike and pedestrian path. A major part of the 183 South project also includes upgraded LED lighting along the corridor since most of it is outdated. The 183 South Project will open in two phases. The first section in 2019 between US 290 to just north of Bolm Road and the second phase which continues down to State Highway 71 in 2020.

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