Five transportation updates to know in Central Austin in August and September

From sidewalk work in West Campus welcoming students back to school to the $743 million 183 South project, here's what you know as you're getting around Central Austin.



1. MoPac Express Lane


The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority plans to increase the speed limit in the MoPac express lanes sometime between October 2019 and January 2020. On July 24, the agency’s board approved increasing the limit to 70 mph and set a minimum speed of 55 mph. The main lanes of MoPac will remain at the 65 mph speed limit. Signs will be installed within the next few months.
Timeline: October 2019-January 2020
Cost: $80,000
Funding source: Mobility Authority






2. I-35 construction from Rundberg to US 290 East


Texas Department of Transportation crews reconstructed the A. St. Johns Avenue bridge over I-35 in July and August, allowing the state to improve safety and mobility in the area. Nearby, at B.US 183 and I-35, crews set steel beams in July for new flyovers between the two highways. The work is part of a larger TxDOT project in the area that also includes main lane and frontage road reconstruction as well as other improvements.
Timeline: 2018-21
Cost: $124.2 million
Funding source: TxDOT






3. 183 South project


On Aug. 1, Phase 1 of the new US 183 toll road from US 290 to Techni Center Drive opened to traffic, allowing drivers to bypass traffic signals at Loyola Lane and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Drivers can use the toll road for free during an introductory period that runs through Aug. 31. The full project, which will add a three-lane tolled expressway and improvements to the nontolled lanes on US 183 between US 290 and SH 71, is scheduled to fully open in late 2020.
Timeline: 2016-20
Cost: $743 million
Funding sources: Mobility Authority toll revenue bonds, federal loans, TxDOT loans






4. West Campus sidewalks


The city of Austin improved four stretches of sidewalk in the West Campus area to enhance the neighborhood for pedestrians. Construction included work on 18 curb ramps; filling in gaps in the sidewalk network; and rehabilitating existing sidewalks on Nueces Street, 24th Street, 25th Street and 26th Street.
Timeline: July-August
Cost: $200,000
Funding sources: 2016 Mobility Bond






5. Sabine Street promenade


This project includes sidewalk widening, installation of two-way bike lanes, benches and traffic signals as well as improvements to water lines, storm drains and wastewater piping—all with a goal to make the area more accessible for bikers and pedestrians. The project was initially set to finish this summer, but abandoned utilities found in May caused a four-week delay.
Timeline: spring 2018-October 2019
Cost: $2.8 million
Funding sources: 2010 and 2012 city of Austin mobility bonds






6. Longhorn Dam bridge


The city is evaluating options for a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge crossing Lady Bird Lake over the Longhorn Dam. The existing bridge has narrow sidewalks situated between concrete barriers and a chain-link fence. After holding public meetings in November and June, city staff plan to present recommendations to the public in the fall, according to the project website.
Timeline: July 2018-fall 2019 (preliminary engineering)
Cost: $500,000 (preliminary engineering)
Funding source: Capital Metro sales tax revenue