With construction on the 183 North project entering its second full year, key stakeholders held a community forum Feb. 23 to recap progress made over the last year and highlight upcoming work on the corridor.

The $612 million project, which will add two tolled lanes and a fourth nontolled lane in each direction between MoPac and SH 45, broke ground on Jan. 26, 2022. Project partners include local, state and federal organizations with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority overseeing the project and contractor Great Hills Constructors carrying it out.

“Traffic congestion along the 183 corridor between SH 45 North to the north side and to MoPac is a major concern and is only predicted to increase in the coming years,” GHC Project Director Pat Pluenneke said. “This congestion not only has an economic impact to the tune of about $30 million, but it also impacts the quality of life for commuters, residents, and most importantly, reduces reliable traffic times for transit vehicles and emergency responders.”

Pluenneke said Phase 1 of the two-phase construction on US 183 includes working in the center median of the existing road to construct the new express lanes. Currently, crews are moving earth to install drainage, putting roadbase down and widening the inside bridges, he said.

At the same time, work on sidewalks and driveways along the frontage road is underway, Pluenneke said. The total project is about 25% complete, as previously reported by Community Impact.

Over the past year, Pluenneke said work included resurfacing the main lanes, installing the majority of lighting along the northbound side of the road, beginning construction of Americans with Disability Act-compliant sidewalks and driveways, opening center median access for construction vehicles at several U-turns along the corridor, and preparing for bridge widening.

Upcoming work includes finishing installing lighting fixtures along southbound US 183. The new LED lights—which are designed with shields to reduce light spillover to nearby neighborhoods—are expected to come online in the coming months, Pluenneke said.

Oher projects for 2023 include working on the largest bridge involved on the project, advancing storm sewer and drainage work, continuing bridge widenings and beginning work on retaining walls on the outside of the project, which will allow the new general purpose lane to go in, Pluenneke said.

The forum also included information about how the new 183 North express lanes will connect to MoPac. Pluenneke said a new flyover bridge will directly connect the new southbound US 183 express lanes with the southbound MoPac express lanes. Additionally, drivers who do not want to take the MoPac express lanes will be able to peel off and connect to the MoPac frontage road, he said.

“If you’re in the express lanes and you’re continuing south, the intent of this project is to provide that direct linkage to the MoPac express lanes,” said Mike Sexton, acting director of engineering for the Mobility Authority.

Pluenneke said 2023 and 2024 will be “big years” of construction, with construction wrapping up in 2025 and the project opening in 2026.