I-35

Photo by CRT UT Austin http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctr_utaustin/

In about a dozen days, you’ll be able to drive from I-35 to Ben White Boulevard and vice versa in any direction without having to get onto the frontage road. An 18-month project to complete interchanges between the two thoroughfares will be completed December 12.

Currently, three of the four new ramps have been completed. The last one will be opened with a ribbon cutting a week from Monday with State Sen. Kirk Watson, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, and the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin District engineer Carlos Lopez.

Photo by CTR UT Austin http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctr_utaustin/

You can already drive over some of the new constructed ramps of the I-35/Ben White interchange, but the job has yet to be completed. The Texas Department of Transportation says crews will be pouring concrete on two parts of the spans late Saturday night. The area should be opened by 10 a.m. Sunday.

Here are the closures, courtesy of TxDOT:

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

It’s one of Austin’s favorite things to complain about: gridlock on the interstate. Just yesterday, we learned how the average person wastes 38 hours a year stuck in traffic in Austin.  A good percentage of that is spent idling on that north-south thoroughfare.

Photo by Novasource https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/User:Novasource

A new law takes effect on Thursday that allows the Texas Department of Transportation to raise speed limits from 70 mph to 75 mph on any highway, as long as doing so would be “reasonable and safe.” And while the limits won’t be increased on September 1, a TxDOT spokesman says several roads in the Austin-area are likely to see their limits increased in the near future.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s firm yet, but I would say that it’s a reasonable expectation that those are the areas we will convert, especially the interstate,” TxDOT spokesman John Hurt told KUT News. “Our speed studies indicate that people are already driving that speed limit now.”

Hurt said these Central Texas roads are among those under consideration for higher speed limits:

Photo by Jesse Wang for KUT News

It's another busy weekend in Austin, but before you hit the roads here’s a round-up of road closures and other traffic news for this weekend.

Construction continues this evening on several connecting fly-over ramps at the intersection of I-35 and Ben White Boulevard. The southbound I-35 frontage road will be closed between the intersections of the eastbound and westbound US 290 frontage roads.

Traffic will be diverted down the US 290 frontage road to the turnaround at Congress Avenue. Ben White Boulevard will also be narrowed between Burleson Road and South Congress Avenue to allow one lane of traffic in each direction.

Photo courtesy of TxDOT

As drivers cope with yet another closure around Ben White Boulevard (SH-71) and I-35 this weekend, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

This is the area where a Ben White Blvd./US 290 closure begins this evening.

Work on a flyover ramp will require shutting Ben White Blvd. this weekend, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. But unlike previous weekends, the closure will not affect I-35. You can see the affected area in the map above. For a more detailed view, check out TxDOT’s map here.

The Ben White Blvd/US 290 closure is scheduled to start around 8 o’clock tonight. Everything is supposed to return to normal by Sunday morning.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

A presentation to Austin City Council on Tuesday focused on plans for urban rail, but that didn't stop people from talking roads.

When asked what could be done to ease traffic congestion, Austin's Transportation Director Robert Spillar said his department was looking at adding toll lanes to the source of some of Austin's worst traffic: Interstate 35.

"When we look at I-35, traffic engineers both within our department as well as in the community believe that we can get some more capacity out of I-35," said Spillar.  "Can we add another lane of capacity within the existing footprint? I think we can."

This map shows the detour routes in green and the closures in red.

Interstate 35 at Ben White Blvd. will be closed again this weekend for construction work on flyovers intended to connect I-35 with US 290. 

Here’s what will happen as of 8 pm tonight, according to the Texas Department of Transportation:

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Interstate 35 is likely to be more congested than usual this weekend because of a flurry of activities at the University of Texas and a construction closure of I-35 at Ben White Blvd.

Not only are there commencement activities at UT Austin this weekend, but there’s also baseball and softball games.

If you’re passing through Kyle next week anytime between 9 pm and 6 am, you may want to give yourself extra time to get to your destination. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says it will be closing Interstate 35 northbound for two days and then closing it southbound for two days after that.  Here is the full schedule.

Northbound traffic on Interstate 35 around Ben White could be slow this weekend as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) closes lanes to allow crews to work on a flyover.

Here's the schedule:

10 pm Friday to 4 am Saturday

Photo courtesy of the City of Leander

Leander City Manager Passes Away

Funeral arrangements are pending for Leander City Manager Anthony "Biff" Johnson.  Officials say he died unexpectedly Thursday afternoon from apparent cardiac arrest. 

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Construction gates have been removed on a project to renovate the parking lot under Interstate 35 in downtown Austin, allowing people to walk freely on the expanded sidewalks. For the past several months, pedestrians walking under I-35 were restricted to a narrow pathway next to fast moving traffic. That could have created a dangerous situation for the thousands of people descending on the city for SXSW.

Image by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The Texas Department of Transportation will waive tolls on segments of SH 130 and SH 45 this Saturday, while crews shut down I-35 at the Ben White Freeway (SH-71).

Tolls won't be collected on SH 45 Southeast, SH 130 and a portion of SH 45 North, near Round Rock and Pflugerville between 6:00 a.m. Saturday and 6:00 a.m. Sunday, according to TxDOT spokesman John Hurt. 


View US 290 & I-35 Shutdown Fri-Sun in a larger map

Give yourself extra time this weekend if you plan to drive on Interstate 35 near Ben White. The Texas Department of Transportation is closing a stretch of the highway from Friday night until Monday morning to conduct work on ramps linking I-35 with US 290/SH 71.  Traffic will be diverted along the frontage roads.

The map above shows how traffic will be affected. Red lines are closures. Blue lines are closed to through traffic, important to know if you're trying to plan a route around the traffic mess.

Southbound lanes are scheduled to close around 10 pm on Friday.  Northbound lanes will close at 1 am Friday. Everything is supposed to reopen before 5 am on Monday morning.

Here's a more detailed explanation from the city's website.

Image courtesy TxDOT

To ease congestion in Central Texas, the state should switch part of I-35 with SH 130, remove tolls on 130 and add two tolled lanes on I-35. That's the recommendation contained in a report by an advisory panel to the Texas Department of Transportation.

The I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee’s recommendation involves the following actions:

Bridge over I-35
Image courtesy splorp http://www.flickr.com/photos/splorp/

Some crucial traffic information if you're planning on driving along I-35 in Hays County: The Texas Department of Transportation says it will close all northbound lanes near Buda exit 217 from 8 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Wednesday.  Traffic will be rerouted along access roads.

TxDOT says they'll repeat the whole procedure with the southbound lanes on Wednesday night during the same time frame. Northbound lanes will not close Wednesday night.

Dinosaur bones under I35 in downtown Austin
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Thousands of people drive over the I-35 bridge in downtown Austin everyday, and many are probably wondering about the large metal beams poking from underneath. Some people have compared them to dinosaur bones or whale bones.

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