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TxDOT provides update amid ongoing I-35 expansion plans

It would be along an 8-mile stretch through Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is looking at expanding Interstate 35 in Austin along an 8-mile stretch. 

The department is looking at two options. The first is to not make any changes. The other option is adding four HOV lanes in the center with two on each side of I-35.

"In order to use those, you will either need to be a in a bus, or carpool, or a van pool, or multi-person vehicles. So, a single-occupancy vehicle would continue to use existing general-purpose lanes but these HOV lanes would move more people along the corridor," said Tucker Ferguson, division engineer for the TxDOT Austin Division.

Ferguson said Austin continues to grow and that around 200,000 vehicles use I-35 each day. That number is projected to double in the next 20 years.

"It’s to prevent congestion relief and improve safety along the corridor," said Ferguson.

There are more than 100 properties, including businesses, that could be impacted by the project.

"We will begin them on the journey to relocation and reimbursing for expenses and mitigation for tenants that qualify for reimbursement," said Ferguson.

TxDOT will be conducting more environmental studies along the whole stretch, including near Lady Bird Lake.

"There is many environmental impacts we'll be reviewing and addressing and mitigating, such as utility movements environmental sensitive properties," said Ferguson.

They plan to have boulevard-style sections on the frontage road along with shared-use paths.

TxDOT will welcome public commentary through March 7.

A final environmental statement is expected to be prepared and a decision made by August. Construction could start as early as mid-2024.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.

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