Updated lanes are scheduled to open soon following construction on interim improvements to the intersection where Hwy 290 meets Hwy. 71, also known as the Y at Oak Hill.
The Texas Department of Transportation is building continuous-flow intersections, or CFIs, on Hwy. 290 between Hwy. 71 and Joe Tanner Lane. At CFIs, lanes are moved to allow a driver to turn left at the same time a driver on the opposite side of the intersection can drive straight ahead.
The project will officially be completed in August, but TxDOT plans to open the intersection at Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 on May 5 and the intersection at Hwy. 290 and William Cannon Drive on May 12, weather permitting, TxDOT spokesman Christopher Bishop said.
The section from Joe Tanner Lane to Oak Meadow Drive will still need final paving after the intersections open, Bishop said. He noted the area will still be considered a work zone until all paving, striping and landscaping is complete, and related traffic fines will apply.
"When you set this [type of intersection] up you know what the timing roughly is going to be, but then you end up having to adjust it based on real-time conditions," he said. "To that end we'll still be working on how the traffic gets through. It's a complex intersection. Part of the reason we're opening the lanes is that we're at that point where to do the remaining work, we have to move people away from where the work has to be done."
Traffic models show the changes at the Y at Oak Hill will improve travel time by 30 to 50 percent, according to TxDOT.
The $6.5 million projects are funded by TxDOT, the city of Austin and Travis County.