Changes coming to I-35 in Austin


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 10:41 PM

AUSTIN -- "I-35 is too important to ignore." That’s the message from TxDOT as they unveil several dozen planned changes for Austin-area roads.

"Anybody who's ever driven on I-35 knows that it's a tough problem that we have to solve," said Kelli Reyna with TxDOT.

From adding new center lanes to the upper deck, to improving busy exits all over Austin, TxDOT is ready to begin work as soon as possible.

“We’re hoping for completion in the next three to ten years,” said Reyna.

The biggest proposal? Adding another lane in each direction on I-35 from 45 North in Georgetown to 45 SE in Hays County.

The extra lane could be a toll road, an open lane or a high occupancy vehicle option, but “most likely it would be a toll” Reyna told KVUE.

Now TxDOT is looking for public input from everybody who drives in Central Texas.

Pete Vera says he is constant on I-35, from Georgetown to Austin, and he is concerned about how TxDOT will add another lane without widening the interstate.

“There's just not any room for squeezing, especially if they're going 60 to 65 mph,” Vera said.

Work will also begin soon on a new toll road along MoPac, so drivers may have to deal with construction on both major thoroughfares in Austin.

“They outta do one first and then the other. I think 35 should be first,” said Vera.

“It's not as easy as shutting down I-35 and building new lanes, because we have to figure out where 200,000 plus cars would go a day,” Reyna said.

Click here to see the complete project for I-35 and major intersections in Austin.

The next town hall meeting to give public input is scheduled for Thursday, April 4th from 3-7 p.m. at the Manchaca United Methodist Church, Family Life Center.