AUSTIN, Texas — Boomtown 2040 is our look at Austin's growth, and of course one of the biggest issues is traffic.

One of the major projects happening now is U.S. 183 South in East Austin.

What once was a highway with several stoplights is now going to be a tolled expressway from Highway 290 to the north to Highway 71 to the south.

Starting Tuesday evening, southbound traffic between Bolm Road and Thompson Lane will be shifted to newly constructed frontage road lanes.

According to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, this change will restore direct access to Montopolis Drive from southbound US 183. It will also include installation of a new traffic signal at Montopolis Drive and permanent removal of the existing traffic signal at Vargas Road.

A possible detour for drivers on Montopolis Drive who want to go northbound on U.S. 183 is to first head south on U.S. 183 and then make a U-turn at Vargas Road.

Northbound drivers who want to access Montopolis will continue north past Montopolis and use a U-turn located at Bolm Road and then take 183 southbound to Montopolis.

The mobility authority said it encourages drivers to find alternate routes to the Montopolis neighborhood via State Highway 71 and Riverside Drive.

 On Friday, July 12, crews plan to move northbound traffic between Highway 71 and Thompson Lane to newly constructed frontage road lanes. Then crews will close the bridge over the Colorado River, so it can be demolished and replaced.

Northbound traffic will be moved temporarily onto an adjacent bridge and the northbound exit to Airport Boulevard, Seventh, Fifth and Cesar Chavez streets will be closed.

During this closure, northbound drivers wanting to get on Airport Boulevard and the other downtown routes will follow a detour to Bolm Road, where they will use a U-turn to enter southbound U.S. 183, and then exit at Levander Loop to access those streets.

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Hergotz Lane will also be closed at northbound U.S. 183 during demolition and reconstruction of the bridge.

“Ultimately, this will greatly enhance East Austin,” said Steve Pustelnyk, spokesperson for the mobility authority. “It will improve both local mobility as well as through trips.”

Tearing down and replacing the Colorado River Bridge is expected to take about a year.

Once U.S. 183 is finished, it will have three tolled lanes each way along with three non-tolled frontage road lanes each way.

“If you choose to use the frontage road, you'll only have two traffic lights,” said Pustelnyk, “one at Loyola Lane and one at Montopolis Drive."


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