7 transportation and transit projects to know for August in Northwest Austin

Featured project

1. Parmer diverging diamond

Construction began July 24 at Parmer Lane and I-35 to add a diverging diamond interchange. Vehicles will cross over to the opposite side of the road to facilitate more efficient turning movements. Crews will add a southbound I-35 bypass lane at Parmer, and improvements at Parmer and North Lamar Boulevard are also planned. Lane closures will begin this fall.

Timeline: July 2019-mid-2021
Cost: $32.5 million
Funding source: Texas Department of Transportation

Ongoing projects

2. I-35 project at US 183

TxDOT temporarily closed US 183 in late July and early August to allow crews set steel beams for new flyovers between I-35 and US 183. Crews also finished rebuilding the St. Johns Avenue bridge over I-35 and will reopen it Aug. 27.

Timeline: January 2018-mid-2021
Cost: $124 million
Funding source: TxDOT

3. Red Line Trail

The city is planning to build a trail adjacent to the MetroRail Red Line from Northern Walnut Creek Trail to Braker Lane. A public meeting will be held this fall to view the latest design plans, which will be about 60% complete. The 2016 Mobility Bond provided funds for the design, and the city will need to seek funding for construction.

Timeline: late 2021-22 (construction to begin assuming funding is secured)
Cost: $2 million
Funding source: 2016 Mobility Bond

4. MoPac express lanes

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority plans to increase the speed limit in the MoPac express lanes by late 2019. On July 24, the agency’s board approved increasing the speed 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: July-December 2019
Cost: $80,000
Funding source: Mobility Authority

5. US 183 North project

Three contractors are moving forward with creating detailed design plans for the US 183 North project that will add two toll lanes in each direction between MoPac and SH 45 N. The Mobility Authority will evaluate the three proposals over the next year and plans to award a contract to the winning contractor in May.

Timeline: 2021-25 (construction)
Cost: $500 million
Funding source: Mobility Authority

6. Safe Routes to School

The city is moving forward on Safe Routes to School projects funded through the 2016 Mobility bond. Projects completed so far this year include filling a sidewalk gap at A Hymeadow Drive and Lake Creek Parkway earlier in 2019. The most recent project completed in June was adding sidewalks near B Rutland Drive and Rundberg Lane and on C Jamestown Drive.

Timeline: 2019
Cost: $500,000
Funding source: 2016 Mobility Bond

7. Electric buses

Capital Metro will start construction this fall on an electric smart charging facility at the former Serta Mattress warehouse, which has been demolished at 9313 McNeil Road, Austin. The new facility will house 214 buses at capacity. The agency is also using a $2.6 million federal grant, announced July 26, to purchase new electric buses and put them into service by the end of 2019. Capital Metro’s board approved $11.2 million in April to purchase 10 electric buses.

Timeline: fall 2019-summer 2020
Cost: $11.2 million (buses), cost of facility to be determined
Funding sources: Capital Metro, Federal Transit Administration (buses only)

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.