AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s newest and biggest roundabout opened Saturday afternoon.
Traffic signals are removed and officers will be on site to direct traffic through the new intersection. However, only one lane is currently open at the southbound Interstate 35 at 51st Street roundabout. The project, started in October 2016, is expected to be completed in spring 2018 with the opening of the second lane.
Residents who live near the roundabout say they have been keeping a close eye on the progress of the project.
“I am 1,000 percent behind this,” Dennis Sheeran said. “This is very exciting for our neighborhood and for the city as a whole.”
Sheeran says he looks forward to the roundabout alleviating some of the traffic congestion.
“It’ll make my jogs a little easier,” he said. “Because you take your life into your hands crossing this bridge every morning in the dark.”
Nearby business owner Mark Strauss says it hasn’t been easy dealing with the ongoing construction but says he knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he decided to set up shop along the southbound I-35 frontage road. “We hope that once the construction is completed it’s going to make the place more attractive,” Strauss said.
The Austin Auto owner moved into the frontage road location four months ago after his previous location caught on fire in south Austin. “We got in when rent was low and no one wanted to be here due to the construction,” he said.
However, both Sheeran and Strauss admit it may take them, and others, some time to get used to the roundabout.
The $16.5 million project is being constructed by Capital Excavation Company. For more information on the roundabout project and closures, visit My35Construction.org.