Austin transportation news: A new bus stop on the Drag, a barge on Lady Bird Lake and tolls on US 183

A new bus platform at Dean Keeton Street and Guadalupe Street allows Capital Metro buses to pick up and drop off passengers without pulling out of traffic. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
A new bus platform at Dean Keeton Street and Guadalupe Street allows Capital Metro buses to pick up and drop off passengers without pulling out of traffic. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

A new bus platform at Dean Keeton Street and Guadalupe Street allows Capital Metro buses to pick up and drop off passengers without pulling out of traffic. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

If you have been walking, biking or riding the bus along Guadalupe Street past the University of Texas campus recently, you have likely seen a new bus platform at the intersection with Dean Keeton Street.

The 120-foot platform with a green-and-white checkerboard design means Capital Metro buses do not have to pull out of the travel lane as they come north up Guadalupe for people to board, and it provides some separation from the road for people walking on the sidewalk.

Previously, the bus stop was located on the south side of the intersection. Moving it north clears the intersection for cars turning right onto Dean Keeton, preventing them from sitting behind a Capital Metro bus before making the turn.

The platform is part of a pilot program for six months, and according to a news release from Capital Metro, it can easily be removed if needed because it has a base of rubber anchored to the street surface.

That drilling barge in Lady Bird Lake? It's a part of Project Connect.


Just across from Waller Creek Boathouse, there is a drilling barge sitting in the middle of Lady Bird Lake. The barge is helping workers take soil samples from the lake, according to a tweet from Capital Metro, part of the environmental review process for the future Blue Line rail.

The $1.3 billion Blue Line, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2024, is part of the $7.1 billion plan Austin voters approved in November, and it would run from North Lamar Boulevard to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, crossing Lady Bird Lake near downtown. Each component of Project Connect is happening in different stages, but the rail lines will take the longest to implement. Construction of stations for new bus lines could start by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Austin Transit Partnership—the board set up to approve contracts and oversee the construction process—will be holding its first meeting Jan. 20, when it is set to approve its bylaws, pass an interim budget and listen to presentations from city of Austin and Capital Metro staff.

UT shuttle shut down until at least Feb. 1

In order to spread out the return of University of Texas students to campus, University Provost Dan Jaffe announced Jan. 8 that all courses scheduled for hybrid, in-person and online instruction would be online only through the end of January with the exception of courses in pharmacy and nursing.

After that announcement, Capital Metro announced it would suspend service of its UT shuttle through Feb. 1 to line up with the resumption of hybrid classes. According to a news release from Capital Metro, anyone with a valid UT ID can still ride free on all Capital Metro services.

Tolling begins on south side of 183 South

Mike Heiligenstein, who stepped aside as executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority earlier this month, told Community Impact Newspaper that the $743 million 183 South project to add tolled lanes on US 183 through East Austin would be "buttoned up" by February.

As the finishing touches are put on the project that took more than four years, tolls are being phased in on the southern portion of the project from Bolm Road to SH 71.

The northern section of the project stretching to US 290 has been tolled since 2019. Now, drivers will pay $2.30 to drive the full 8 miles if they have a TxTag

Around mid-February, the Mobility Authority expects to open connector ramps between the US 183 toll road and SH 71, which will cost an additional $0.53 with a tag.