PLAN UNVEILED TO FUND I-35 IMPROVEMENTS THROUGH DOWNTOWN AUSTIN
The I-35 Capital Express Central project that would add two new non-tolled managed lanes in each direction on I-35 through downtown Austin could be fully funded under a plan unveiled at the February Texas Transportation Commission meeting. Under the proposed plan, an additional $3.4 billion would be allocated to the project.
Full funding for the central segment of the I-35 Capital Express Program would require three additional funding decisions. The first source is about $3.4 billion in discretionary funding that the Commission could approve in April as an update to the 2020 Unified Transportation Program (UTP). The second needed source of funding would be more than $600 million from TxDOT funds previously allocated to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). The I-35 Capital Express Program is CAMPO's top priority project for the region. The third component of the funding is about $300 million that will be considered by the Commission when it votes on the 2021 UTP in August 2020. The new funding is the result of years of planning and discussions with Governor Greg Abbott, regional transportation planners and stakeholders.
"Chairman Bruce Bugg and the Texas Transportation Commission have made tremendous progress to fully fund and deliver the I-35 Capital Express Project as a non-tolled project," said Governor Greg Abbott. "This project will relieve traffic congestion for all those who travel on I-35 through Austin, while helping our capital city meet the needs of a growing population. I thank Chairman Bugg, Commissioners Laura Ryan, Alvin New, and Robert Vaughn, and all the key stakeholders for working collaboratively to secure this important funding, and look forward to working with them to address our transportation needs across the state."
"In recent years, I-35 through Austin has repeatedly been one of the worst chokepoints for drivers in Austin and Texas and the source for understandable frustration," said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. "The I-35 Capital Express Project is a statewide strategic priority project, not just for Austin, but the State of Texas. If Austin wants to continue to be a beacon for business and a wonderful quality of life, then work on I-35 Capital Express needs to happen as soon as possible. I am delighted and honored to work with my fellow Commissioners and key transportation leaders to secure this funding for the top priority project through Austin."
"I-35 through downtown Austin is a state and regional strategic priority. It must be. This proposal to invest an additional $4.3 billion in funds to address I-35 is the kind of bold investment we need," said Senator Kirk Watson. "I'm very proud to have worked for years on the plan for making I-35 more functional, more transit friendly and less of a scar through our community. This is an enormous step forward. I thank Governor Abbott and Chairman Bugg for working closely with me, seeing this stretch of road as a priority and for being willing to make such a bold investment."
The community is invited to provide input on the proposed updates to the 2020 UTP at a public meeting on March 12 or at the public hearing on April 7, 2020. See meeting information here.
The I-35 Capital Express Program is one of the key projects of a statewide congestion relief effort called Texas Clear Lanes. More about this initiative can be found at Texas Clear Lanes
MOBILITY35 CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
I-35 from RM 1431 to FM 3406 (northbound): Work continues on the reconstruction and widening of the northbound I-35 frontage road from two to three lanes. Crews plan to open the new RM 1431 exit ramp and begin working on the right-hand side of the frontage road in the coming months. This project is expected to complete later in 2020.
I-35 at Parmer Lane: The widening of the Parmer Lane bridge is underway, with plans to install new bridge beams set for mid-March. Additionally, workers have shifted to southbound I-35 to excavate and build retaining walls for the future intersection bypass lane. This project is expected to complete in mid-2021.
I-35 from Rundberg Lane to US 290 East: The deck was poured on three sections of the southbound I-35 to southbound US 183 flyover, where the ramp will connect with the US 183 mainlanes. Just west of I-35, prep work was started on additional columns for the southbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover. Additionally, work to widen the outside lane of the southbound I-35 frontage road at St. Johns Avenue will continue over the coming months. This project is expected to complete in mid-2021.
I-35 at Oltorf Street: Crews are constructing and replacing the center median barrier, as well as replacing lighting poles and paving along the I-35 mainlanes. The project team installed an overhead sign bridge along southbound I-35 in early March. Plans to install the northbound I-35 overhead sign bridge are set for mid-March, weather permitting. Drivers can expect full closures on the I-35 mainlanes during this construction and installation.
I-35 from Stassney Lane to William Cannon Drive: Permanent traffic signals will be installed at William Cannon Drive, while crews continue construction of the retaining wall at the Stassney Lane bridge. This project is expected to complete mid-2020.
I-35 at Posey Road: Widening of the northbound I-35 frontage road continues along with the installation of a storm sewer system. The northbound I-35 York Creek Road exit ramp has been constructed, while work continues on the northbound York Creek Road entrance ramp. This project is expected to complete 2021.