Just how busy is I-35? New traffic cameras provide a real-time view through downtown Austin

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As part of a statewide initiative to improve congestion, the Texas Department of Transportation launched 11 new traffic cameras Monday to provide real-time data of the highway through downtown Austin.

The cameras are part of the agency’s Traffic Management System that utilizes technology to help reduce congestion and improve safety during construction. In 2016, the system received $10 million from the Texas Clear Lanes initiative, funded by the passage of Proposition 1 to end diversions from the State Highway Fund, for upgrades, including the cameras.

Drivers can now see views of I-35 from 51st Street to Woodward Street, including feeds that oversee Manor Road, Airport Boulevard and the upper and lower decks.

“With I-35 in Central Texas being one of the most congested highways in Texas, we have to keep looking for ways to manage traffic throughout this corridor,” said Terry McCoy, TxDOT Austin District engineer. “Knowing there is no one single strategy to reduce traffic by itself, we’re taking an ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ approach to improve mobility and communication on I-35.”

Forty live traffic cameras now cover I-35 in Central Texas, which also has a smart work zone system that lets drivers know real-time travel information and other messages on highway delays.

The system uses side-scanning microwave radar to detect vehicle movements. A central processor uses the data to provide travel times through construction zones on message signs as well as information on detours, lane conditions and delays.

“Drivers can now make informed travel decisions on whether they want to proceed through the work zone, exit onto the frontage road or choose to take an alternate route around the work zone. This helps alleviate work zone-related congestion and improves safety for motorists and workers.”

On Feb. 1, TxDOT also released a live construction map, www.My35Construction.com, that also shows drivers current traffic conditions, lane closures and other delays.

Click here for real-time views of I-35 in the capital area.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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