State and local officials broke ground July 24 on the $32.5 million project, signifying the beginning of construction, which is expected to finish in mid-2021.
“There are a lot of major employers around here,” state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, said. “Austin is awesome. Our region is awesome. Transportation is the bane of our existence, though. It is harming our future potential to do good things.”
The Parmer improvements project, funded by the Texas Department of Transportation, will construct a diverging diamond interchange. The new traffic pattern will direct vehicles to cross over to the opposite side of the road to facilitate more efficient turning movements, according to TxDOT documents.
“Parmer Lane is a critical east-west route for our region. We know there is a lot of travel on this corridor right now,” said Ashby Johnson, executive director of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, the project additionally includes adding turn lanes at the intersection of Parmer and North Lamar Boulevard.
Plans for the project also include adding a southbound intersection bypass lane at the I-35 and Parmer intersection, reconstructing the northbound intersection bypass lane at that same intersection and reconstructing entrance and exit ramps south of Parmer.
“Unfortunately the improvements have not kept pace with the growth of the residents and the population, resulting in ever-increasing congestion that we can see on the roadway on a daily basis,” TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson said.
Contracts for the project have been awarded, and motorists can expect to see barriers put up near Parmer and I-35 in the coming weeks, TxDOT officials told Community Impact Newspaper. Lane closures will begin shortly after the barriers are put up and are expected to begin before this fall.
Construction will wrap up on the diverging diamond project by mid-2021, according to TxDOT's projected timeline for the improvements.