$4.9B I-35 project through downtown once again opens for public feedback

The upper decks of I-35 would be taken down according to designs from the Texas Department of Transportation for a project to revamp the highway through downtown Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
The upper decks of I-35 would be taken down according to designs from the Texas Department of Transportation for a project to revamp the highway through downtown Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The upper decks of I-35 would be taken down according to designs from the Texas Department of Transportation for a project to revamp the highway through downtown Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

After receiving more than 2,300 public comments in November and December regarding the upcoming project to revamp I-35 through downtown Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation is once again opening the massive $4.9 billion project up for the public.

From March 11-April 9, residents can view a presentation featuring TxDOT's preliminary designs and provide feedback online. In addition, residents can send an email to capexcentral@txdot.gov, leave a voicemail at 512-651-2948 or write to TxDOT at the following address: I-35 Capital Express Central Project, Attn: Project Team, 1608 W. Sixth St., Austin, TX, 78703.


The project will add two managed lanes designed for public transit, emergency vehicles and carpools, and construction is not set to begin until 2025. At this point, designs are just preliminary and they are subject to change based on public input. The final design, which will be chosen after another public open house later this summer, will not be selected until the fall of 2022.

Each of the designs TxDOT has presented would recommend taking down the upper decks between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Airport Boulevard. In addition, the designs would bring down ramps and main lanes through other sections of the project downtown, either by lowering both the main lanes and managed lanes at the same level or tunneling the managed lanes even lower underneath the main lanes.

Other possibilities, which TxDOT calls design options, include bus-only lanes connecting Capital Metro buses to I-35 from Riverside Drive and Dean Keeton Street; a downtown boulevard concept incorporating deck plazas, or caps; a system to bypass downtown; and an access-controlled frontage road system.
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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