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TxDOT considers I-35 expansion, funds Oakhill Parkway project

TxDOT is planning to spend $440 million to add three lanes in each direction, along with flyovers.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is getting the green light on some major projects to get Austin traffic moving.

The state's transportation commission approved a 10-year plan on Thursday -- so while the fixes may not come fast, they are moving forward.

One of the biggest headaches for drivers in Central Texas is Interstate 35.

After back and forth discussions about how to expand the highway, TxDOT is considering adding non-tolled HOV lanes from Round Rock to Buda, among other options.

"They'll be options like express lanes looked at,” said Brian Barth, Director of Project Planning and Development for TxDOT. “We’re gonna turn all stones finding the right solution."

The department also plans to rebuild ramps, improve feeder roads and add more lanes.

Construction could cost $8 billion.

But before construction begins, the department needs to do environmental and engineering studies, which could cost more than $700 million.

Another area that will see big changes is the "Y" in Oak Hill. This is the interchange in southwest Austin, where Highway 71 splits from Highway 290.

TxDOT is planning to spend $440 million to add three lanes in each direction, along with flyovers.

“That's a non-tolled solution, so we're adding additional capacity to turning movements and to through traffic,” said Barth.

Hays County Commissioner Ray Whisenant said it is a relief for Dripping Springs residents.

"We've had public meetings in the Dripping Springs area,” Whisenant said. “I had a lot of really good comments and good, favorable support for the project and … the plans address the problem."

TxDOT said it expects to break ground on the Y project in 2020, which will take at least four years to finish.

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