New lanes opened in May at the intersection where Hwy. 290 meets Hwy. 71, known as the Y at Oak Hill.
The Texas Department of Transportation has been working since September 2013 on the $6.5 million project to build 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 drives straight ahead.
TxDOT opened the intersection at Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 on May 5 and will open the intersection at Hwy. 290 and William Cannon Drive in June, TxDOT spokesman Christopher Bishop said. The project will officially be completed in August, but the section from Joe Tanner Lane to Oak Meadow Drive still needs work, he 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.”
The project is funded by TxDOT, the city of Austin and Travis County.
TxDOT traffic models show travel time could improve by about 30 to 50 percent. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is working on a long-term environmental study separate from the interim improvements.