Five transportation projects to know this month in Central Austin

The biggest transportation project in the area, work to improve US 183, is making progress. Meanwhile, a project on I-35 near Oltorf Street is approaching its scheduled end this year. See updates on those and more ongoing work this month.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the cost estimate for Capital Metro's downtown MetroRail station.



1.I-35 improvements at Oltorf Street


As the project approaches its projected completion in the middle of 2019, crews are working on constructing retaining walls along the main lanes of I-35, a shared-use path, ramps and utility installation over the next few months. The new northbound I-35 entrance ramp between Woodward and Oltorf Streets opened in January.
Timeline: February 2017-mid-2019
Cost: $42.6 million
Funding source: Texas Department of Transportation






2.183 South project


will create a tolled expressway and enhanced nontoll lanes on US 183 between US 290 and SH 71. Significant work will ramp up this spring to complete the new northbound US 183 bridge over the Colorado River, and drivers will notice a new temporary configuration as traffic is shifted off the existing bridge while work is completed.
Timeline: 2016-20
Cost: $743 million
Funding sources: Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority toll revenue bonds, federal loans, TxDOT loans






3.Downtown MetroRail station renovation


Capital Metro will break ground in late March on a project to renovate its downtown MetroRail station—the transit agency’s smallest but busiest stop. The renovation includes building a new platform on Fourth Street between Neches and Red River streets, expanding to three tracks, constructing a new bridge over Waller Creek and adding a public plaza. After construction finishes, Capital Metro will be able to boost the frequency and capacity of its MetroRail line.
Timeline: 2019-21
Cost: $30.7 million
Funding sources: TxDOT grant, city of Austin, Capital Metro






4.Exposition Boulevard water pipeline renewal


This project will replace 8,000 linear feet of existing water line and 900 linear feet of wastewater lines. Water lines have a “well-documented history of breaks” in the area, according to the city’s public works department, and this project will improve service reliability while avoiding future expenditures for water line breaks. Austin City Council awarded a contract for the work to Austin Underground Inc. on Jan. 31. Two lanes of traffic will remain open on Exposition as crews work in the area.

Timeline: 2019-20
Cost: $3.3 million-$3.6 million
Funding source: Austin Water






5.  Oak Hill Parkway project


The state’s 12-lane project is an effort to improve mobility near the intersection of Hwy. 290 and SH 71. The various aspects of the project include main lane expansions, two to three frontage road lanes in each direction, and newly constructed skyways and depressed lanes. Some residents have raised environmental concerns tied to the highway expansion. Others have praised the project and emphasized its need. Austin City Council approved its $3.3 million contribution to the project Jan. 31.

Timeline: construction could begin in 2020 at the earliest and is expected to last four years
Cost: $545 million
Funding source: TxDOT


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


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