I-35 news to follow in '21: Work finishing in South Austin, input to be gathered for managed lane projects

A nearly five-year project to improve I-35 in the area of William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane is set to finish in mid-2021. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
A nearly five-year project to improve I-35 in the area of William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane is set to finish in mid-2021. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

A nearly five-year project to improve I-35 in the area of William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane is set to finish in mid-2021. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

While a long-term I-35 project in South Austin is set to end in 2021, another major project in the area could be beginning in 2022. As the William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane project approaches its final months, the Texas Department of Transportation is gathering input and preparing to tackle three separate projects—one in North Austin, one in Central Austin and one in South Austin—that would add managed, or nontolled, lanes on I-35 for public transportation, carpools and vanpools over the next several years.

South Austin I-35 work set to wrap up in 2021

After nearly five years of construction, a twice-delayed project to reconstruct the William Cannon and Stassney bridges across I-35 is set to finish in the middle of 2021, according to the TxDOT.

The $78.8 million project also improved ramps on and off I-35 in the area. According to TxDOT, the final work to take place will include constructing curbs and gutters, installing shared-use paths and paving the main lanes.

The project was initially supposed to be completed by the end of 2020, but it was pushed back in November. When it is completed, this will be the end of a long period of construction along the highway for South Austin drivers. A separate three-year, $42.6 million project to reconstruct the Oltorf Street bridge and improve entrance and exit rams wrapped up in June 2020.

I-35 Capital Express South

This project would add two nontolled lanes in each direction along I-35 between SH 45 SE and Hwy. 71. The next step for TxDOT will be a public hearing tentatively scheduled for this spring. At that meeting, TxDOT will present its proposed design and environmental assessment for residents to review and provide feedback. The design process is set to finish in 2022, at which point construction can begin.

Timeline: construction could begin in 2022

Cost: $300 million

Funding source: TxDOT

I-35 Capital Express Central

The first public scoping meeting for this $4.9 billion project to overhaul an 8-mile stretch of I-35 through downtown Austin between Hwy. 290 and SH 71 was held in December, allowing residents to provide input on the design before the TxDOT advances through environmental review and eventually construction. The next virtual meeting will be held in February, although TxDOT has yet to give an exact date.

Timeline: construction could begin in 2025

Cost: $4.9 billion

Funding source: TxDOT

This story is part of Community Impact Newspaper's Annual Community Guide, which takes a look at the biggest development, health care, education, government and local business stories for the year ahead.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


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