US 183 South toll project about 50% complete, first nontolled section opening to traffic

Workers are still expanding the southbound bridge and will eventually rebuild the northbound bridge as seen on the left. The steel truss bridge on the right will be rehabbed for bicycle and pedestrian use.

Workers are still expanding the southbound bridge and will eventually rebuild the northbound bridge as seen on the left. The steel truss bridge on the right will be rehabbed for bicycle and pedestrian use.

Image description
183 South Boggy Creek area, March 2018
Image description
183 South near Loyola Lane
Image description
183 South at the SH 71 Interchange, March 2018
Image description
183 South at the Colorado River
[video width="1920" height="1080" m4v=""][/video]

Work has finished on the first stretch of nontolled lanes on the US 183 South toll road in East Austin, as construction hits a major milestone at the halfway point.

The $743 million toll project—the largest transportation project underway in the region—includes adding six tolled lanes on US 183 between Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Construction began May 2016 and the project is 50 percent complete and on track to fully open in 2020, said Steve Pustelnyk, director of community relations for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is overseeing the project.

Weather permitting, the Mobility Authority expects to open the northbound nontolled, or general purpose, lanes Friday night between 51st Street and Manor/Springdale Road . The southbound nontolled lanes in that section will open later in May.

“At some point in the next six to nine months, all the general purpose lanes will be open between Springdale and the Techni Center [Drive],” Pustelnyk said. “That will allow us to finish the express lanes in the middle so they can [start opening] in 2019.”

Access to US 183 from Loyola Lane will remain cut off for at least another nine months until crews build the Loyola bridge over US 183, he said.

Work is still underway to expand the southbound bridge to accommodate the express lanes over the Colorado River. Once the expansion is complete, all traffic will temporarily divert to the new bridge to allow workers to rebuild the northbound bridge, Pustelnyk said.

The old steel truss Montopolis Bridge, built in the 1930s and on the National Register of Historic Places, will eventually be closed off to vehicular traffic and rehabbed, including removing lead, repainting and adding lighting, Pustelnyk said. The bridge will be part of a 7-mile shared-use path running along the corridor.

The project also includes 9 miles of new sidewalks and 16 miles of new bike facilities along the nontolled lanes. These new facilities will also connect to shared-use paths on the 290 Toll and SH 71 Toll projects and the Lance Armstrong Bikeway.

“We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the project’s neighbors as we work to improve mobility, economic opportunity and quality of life in this important and vibrant corridor,” Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said in a news release. “I predict 183 South will become the next golden corridor for east Austin in terms of employment opportunities and housing for all our citizens.”

For more information and to receive construction alerts, visit

[video width="1920" height="1080" m4v=""][/video]
By Amy Denney
Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and then senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition and covering transportation. She is now managing editor for the nine publications in the Central Texas area.


Screen shot of a web meeting
COVID-19 rates in Travis County starting to improve, but vaccine distribution remains complicated

Austin Public Health and other local distributors still lack enough supply to provide all qualified residents with an initial dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The 87th Texas Legislature convened Jan. 12. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
State bills target Austin’s police cuts, forced closure of businesses during pandemic

Legislative bills are still being drafted, but even in the session's very beginning, a handful of proposals have drawn the attention of local officials.

A new bus platform at Dean Keeton Street and Guadalupe Street allows Capital Metro buses to pick up and drop off passengers without pulling out of traffic. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin transportation news: A new bus stop on the Drag, a barge on Lady Bird Lake and tolls on US 183

The barge is taking soil samples as part of the environmental review process for the forthcoming Blue Line, and the bus stop is part of a six-month pilot program.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

Corgan Architects presented potential schematic designs for the district's fifth elementary school last year. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)
Dripping Springs ISD prepares to vote for name, principal of new elementary school

The DSISD board of trustees will vote on Jan. 25. The top name in contention is "Cypress Springs Elementary."

Tesla will continue construction of its southeast Travis County manufacturing plant through 2021. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Story to watch in 2021: Tesla’s gigafactory set for completion by year’s end

Tesla is already hiring a number of manufacturing positions for the factory as well as engineers.

Abby Jane Bakeshop held a soft opening Jan. 16-17 in Dripping Springs. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
From pastries to pizza, Abby Jane Bakeshop bringing treats to Dripping Springs

The new bakeshop is set to open Jan. 21 off Fitzhugh Road.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

Photoo of Travis County sign
Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners Court will hold rare joint session to address 'dire' COVID-19 status

County Judge Andy Brown called the meeting "an opportunity to coordinate responses."