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

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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 www.183south.com.

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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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