Contact: Diann Hodges
Phone: (512) 832-7027
Date: June 27, 2018
AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Department of Transportation was joined by state and local officials, including Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., State Senator Kirk Watson, State Representative Celia Israel, and City of Austin Director of Transportation Rob Spillar for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the recently completed I-35 at 51st Street project. The $16.5 million project includes a new roundabout at the southbound I-35 frontage road and 51st Street intersection, a southbound intersection bypass lane underneath 51st Street, and reconfigured entrance and exit ramps. Bicycle and pedestrian enhancements, such as raised crosswalks and pedestrian safety beacons, have also been made within the project limits.
Since the roundabout opened to traffic, there have been significant improvements in mobility. Morning travel times show frontage road traffic heading east is moving more than three times faster than before, and traffic using the new bypass lane is moving five times faster than going through the signalized intersection. In addition to reducing travel times, the project is also enhancing safety and significantly reducing the risk of major collisions.
The I-35 at 51st Street project is the second Texas Clear Lanes project to open in Texas and the first in Austin.
“Funding for Texas Clear Lanes projects is growing in our major metropolitan areas and is designed to provide congestion relief at some of our biggest choke points around the state,” said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. “The I-35 at 51st Street project is proof of our commitment to keep traffic moving in this region.”
The Texas Clear Lanes program addresses Texas’ most congested highways, using funding from Proposition 1, approved in 2014 by 80 percent of Texas voters, and from Proposition 7, approved by 83 percent of Texas voters in 2015 for non-tolled transportation projects. Two additional Texas Clear Lanes projects are under construction in the Austin area, the I-35 at Oltorf Street and I-35 from Rundberg Lane to US 290 projects.
“In 2011, the Texas Legislature set aside $300 million to determine which transportation projects will offer the greatest congestion relief as part of Rider 42, and for Central Texas, that is improving I-35,” said State Senator Kirk Watson. “Thank you to TxDOT for completing the third Mobility35 project, on time and on budget.”
The I-35 at 51st Street project also includes the largest investment in bicycle and pedestrian upgrades for a Mobility35 project to date.
“This project is improving the 51st Street intersection for all users, not just drivers,” said Representative Celia Israel. “51st provides access to state buildings, as well as the Mueller development, and these improvements will give users multiple ways to get to their destination.”
In addition to the Texas Clear Lanes funding, the city of Austin invested $9.2 million in the I-35 at 51st Street project, which helped pay for the pedestrian and bicycle upgrades.
“This project has been a great partnership between the city and TxDOT to ensure the project reflected what is important to our community,” said Austin Transportation Director Rob Spillar. “It is my hope that TxDOT, the city, and other agencies will continue to partner on I-35.”
The Mobility35 program addresses safety and mobility along I-35 through Williamson, Travis, and Hays counties. Work on the I-35 at 51st Street project began in October 2016 and was completed in June 2018. The contractor for the project was Capital Excavation Company.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.