Better late than never: Southbound MoPac lane shift near downtown Austin happening tonight

MoPac The new Cesar Chavez and Fifth streets exit ramp is slightly farther south than the existing exit. Traffic will shift to the new ramp.[/caption]

Updated 4:20 p.m. Nov. 4

Construction will begin tonight starting at 10 p.m., weather permitting. Drivers can expect southbound MoPac to be entirely closed for a brief period of time in the early morning hours Friday to allow crews to implement the traffic shift, but all lanes should be re-open no later than 6 a.m.

Updated 4:15 p.m. Nov. 2

Due to expected rains, the MoPac contractor has postponed the planned traffic shift of the southbound MoPac main lanes and downtown exit ramps.

Contractor CH2M will try again Thursday night, weather permitting, to shift the lanes but may have to consider the switch over the weekend, said Steve Pustelnyk, director of community relations for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Posted 10:11 a.m. Nov. 2

Weather permitting MoPac contractor CH2M plans to shift the southbound MoPac main lanes and downtown exit ramps to their final position tonight starting at 8 p.m.

The existing MoPac main lanes will shift to the right to make room for the new express toll lane that is being added to both directions of MoPac between Cesar Chavez Street and Parmer Lane. The exit ramp for Cesar Chavez and Fifth Street will also shift slightly south.

By Thursday morning, most drivers likely will not notice the traffic changes, said Steve Pustelnyk, director of community relations for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

“If you’re in the lane you’re normally in, you’ll end up where you normally go,” he said. “The lane configuration will be the same.”

Pustelnyk said workers will also have to close the Cesar Chavez, Fifth and Lake Austin Boulevard exit ramps at some point in the night to make the traffic shift, which likely will require closing all MoPac main lanes briefly.

Earlier today light rain fell throughout Austin, and Pustelnyk said if the wet weather conditions worsen there is a chance the contractor will delay the traffic shift.
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.