183 North toll project moves forward and 4 other transportation news items to know in Northwest Austin

(Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Designed by Mel Stefka/Community Impact Newspaper
Image description
Designed by Mel Stefka/Community Impact Newspaper
After brief delay, 183 North toll moves toward construction again

Before making any decisions on the contract for the 183 North project, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s board of directors requested a few more days to dig into the details of how staff evaluated and scored proposals from contractors.

Following a Jan. 27 decision to delay a vote, the board voted unanimously Feb. 8 to move forward in the process and stay on track to have the Northwest Austin tollway project open to traffic in 2026.

The project to add two tolled lanes in each direction along US 183 from MoPac to SH 45 N in Travis and Williamson counties is expected to begin construction later in the year. Before work can begin, the Mobility Authority has to award a design-build contract—which means that the contractor will both design and execute the work—to one of three competing companies. Mike Sexton, the Mobility Authority’s acting director of engineering, presented the three proposals to the board Jan. 27 from Capital Express Partners, Colorado River Constructors and Great Hills Constructors.

The proposal from Great Hills Constructors came in at the lowest price—$477 million—and received a perfect technical score, according to a rubric from staff, but the board wanted more time to review. The design-build contract makes up the majority, but not the entirety, of the project cost.


“Essentially it was a 10-minute presentation,” board member John Langmore said Jan. 27. “All we got was the final score, not the underlying components that were most critical to evaluating that. I guess I feel like on a half a billion dollar contract, I’m certainly more than willing to dedicate some time ... to feel we have done everything within our power to ensure the design and construction of 183 North goes really, really well.”

The board ultimately voted Feb. 8 to accept staff’s recommendation to move forward with a $477 million bid from Great Hills Constructors. Bill Chapman, chief financial officer for the Mobility Authority, on Jan. 27 presented the board with potential toll rates for the length of the project, which he said the board has the authority to change throughout the four years leading up to the opening of 183 North.

According to the numbers Chapman presented, it would cost a minimum of $1.42 to drive the length of the project in the express lane, with rates fluctuating based on demand.

Read more here.

City starts work to add sidewalks along Burnet Road

The city of Austin Corridor Program Office, along with the Austin Public Works Department Sidewalk Program, in late February began construction of a new sidewalk on northbound Burnet Road from Braker Lane to Kramer Lane, according to Dea Crichton, public information and communications manager for the corridor program office.

Construction on the 2,100-foot sidewalk project will last approximately three months. The project will cost approximately $700,000 and is funded by the 2016 mobility bond, according to Crichton.

That timeline potentially opens the sidewalk in time before Austin FC hosts its first home games at Q2 Stadium. At a stadium-naming ceremony Jan. 24, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said he anticipates the first events at the stadium will take place in June. It is unclear at this time if fans will be able to attend home games at Q2 Stadium during Austin FC’s inaugural season.

Also in North Austin, a new sidewalk is currently under construction on North Lamar Boulevard. The Austin Public Works Sidewalk Program is constructing a sidewalk on northbound North Lamar between Caddo Street and On the Green Apartments, which is approximately a half-mile south of Yager Lane.

Construction on this new stretch of sidewalk is expected to finish by late spring.



ONGOING PROJECTS


RM 620/RM 2222 bypass

State crews have almost completed earthwork activities on the bypass. TxDOT will soon install infrastructure for future traffic signals on RM 620 and RM 2222.

Timeline: December 2019-late 2021

US 183 at I-35 flyovers

TxDOT crews are preparing for the long-term closure of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover by readying the work site for detours.

Timeline: January 2018-fall 2021

Parmer Lane diverging diamond

The northbound and southbound I-35 bypass lanes at Parmer Lane opened in late February. Improvements continue on the I-35 frontage road.

Timeline: July 2020-mid-2021

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
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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