Tue June 25, 2013
Should Austin Bury I-35? Proposal to Reconnect City Gets New Look (Update)
Update: The City of Austin and the Texas Department of Transportation are holding the first in a series of open houses today on how to improve traffic flow on I-35.
One option that’s received a lot of attention is the so-called “Cut & Cap” plan – which would bury part of the interstate and cover it with an urban boulevard. Other proposals TxDOT is considering include adding a lane in each direction and making changes to entrance and exit ramps.
TxDOT is revealing new design concepts and taking comments at the open houses:
- Tues., June 25, 3-7 p.m. at Akins High School (10701 South 1st Street, Austin)
- Wed., June 26, 3-7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Pflugerville (500 East Pecan Street)
- Thurs., June 27, 3-7 p.m. at Kealing Middle School (1607 Pennsylvania Avenue, Austin)
Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.
Original Post (June 18): As the Texas Department of Transportation looks for ideas for the future of I-35, one vision is being proposed that could drastically alter Central Austin.
The so-called “Cut & Cap” plan, which was proposed by urban designer and architect Sinclair Black, would submerge I-35 underground from River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and cover the highway with an urban boulevard and a park.
Black has estimated the cost of the project at about $550 million.
This morning, the Austin City Council met to debate the worthiness of approving an economic impact analysis for the “Cut & Cap” plan. This Thursday, the Council will vote on a resolution that would study the plan's financial viability.
Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, had this to say about the potential design:
“Cities across the country are engaging in innovative approaches to the design and use of their aging highway infrastructure and seeing them as opportunities for new boulevards and parks. As a result, neighborhoods have been stitched back together, noise and smog have been reduced, and real estate values have increased. TXDoT is currently considering various mobility scenarios that increase our transportation capacity and the city is interested in maximizing the options under consideration to include new approaches.”
For more information on the proposed “Cut & Cap” plan you can visit Sinclair Black’s Reconnect Austin site here, and watch a video below.