MoPac

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

The first stretch of a toll lane project on MoPac opens Saturday more than a year behind schedule. The northbound, north end segment of the MoPac Express Lane will open from about 2222 to a mile before Parmer Lane. Tolls start at 25 cents and as traffic volume goes up, so will the tolls, with the goal of keeping that one lane flowing at a minimum speed of 45 miles per hour. The MoPac Improvement Project was supposed to open in late 2015. Both sides have blamed each other for delays – the...

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon for KUT News

The new sound walls along MoPac are designed to reduce traffic noise from the highway going into surrounding neighborhoods, but some wonder if the new construction could become a target for vandals.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Austin's traffic problems are pretty much woven into the fiber of this city at this point. We've got the most congested roadway in the state in I-35, which causes plenty of traffic-related frustrations for many a commuter, but we've also got 10 other roadways on the list of the top 100 most congested roadways.

CTRMA Announces MoPac Project Delay, Again

Jul 30, 2015
MoPac Improvement Project

From our city reporting partner, the Austin Monitor : Mike Heiligenstein, the executive director for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, told board members Wednesday that the MoPac Improvement Project is expected to be fully operational sometime in the second half of 2016, a far cry from its originally stated Sept. 17, 2015, completion date . Lead contractor CH2M Hill is responsible for the design and construction of CTRMA’s express lane project , which affects MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street to Parmer Lane. But the originally budgeted $200 million proposal has seen numerous delays because of labor shortages, drilling problems, weather issues, continual run-ins with unidentified utility infrastructure and debatably differing site conditions than those originally agreed upon, Heiligenstein said.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

KUT and our city hall reporting partner the Austin Monitor are looking at needs that have typically been paid for by the state, but have become local responsibilities. Some call them unfunded mandates. KUT News and the Austin Monitor will look at key examples of that interaction in our series, “ The Buck Starts Here.” Today, we take on Austin’s highways. You can read Tyler Whitson's companion piece over at the Austin Monitor. We hear it all the time: Austin’s growing too fast, and we don’t have enough housing or roads for the people already here, not to mention the million more people that will be in the region in a little over a decade . To better accommodate an influx of people and cars, new additions are being planned for several of the region’s major highways. But there’s no such thing as a free ride on most of these new lanes, and to understand why, it helps to do a little time traveling.

Texas Department of Transportation

Austin City Manager Marc Ott has asked the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to reconsider its environmental impact study on State Highway 45 Southwest . The proposed extension would connect South MoPac and FM-1626 in northern Hays County. In a letter to TxDOT, Ott also asked the department to expand the public comment period ahead of tonight's final public input meeting at Bowie High School.

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Disclosure: Carma is a sponsor of KUT. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority cut the ribbon today on a new project that could reduce traffic congestion while saving drivers money. The project is a public-private partnership between the city and state transportation officials, the CTRMA, Texas A&M and a ride-sharing app: Carma. Carma is based on the concept of "casual carpooling." Paul Steinberg, vice president of business operations for Carma, calls it a mutually beneficial model that affords people rides and grants drivers access to cheaper toll roads and high occupancy vehicle lanes.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours. "Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe. With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion. For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character. The best way to experience Austin traffic may be from...

Courtesy of CTRMA

Construction crews will install temporary highway lighting along MoPac tonight, and will also remove existing light poles that in the way of the construction of the forthcoming MoPac express lanes. A full map of construction is available online . The project will add North and Southbound express lanes between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez.

Jillian Schantz Patrick/KUT News

Update : Austin's latest surge of winter weather means postponement of lane restriping work on MoPac. While lane closures continue, lane restriping probably won't begin until after Friday's expected rains, and possible freezing precipitation on Saturday. See the tweet below: Various lane closures tonight for construction sign installation. Restriping work delayed. Weather may push work to next week. #atxtraffic — MoPac Project (@ImproveMopac) December 4, 2013 Original story (Dec. 9): Construction work on MoPac is about to get underway. Overnight lane closures begin tonight as crews install construction signs in preparation for restriping portions of the road.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

In 2015, an 11-mile stretch of Austin’s MoPac Boulevard will expand to eight lanes from six. The two new lanes will be tolled, giving drivers the chance to pay a premium to avoid the road’s frequent congestion. While the toll lanes will help ease traffic on the free lanes, neither the Texas Department of Transportation nor any of the local entities involved in the $200 million project are predicting it will transform MoPac into a free-flowing thoroughfare. With robust population growth projected for the region, MoPac traffic is expected to continue periodically slowing to a crawl for decades. When it does, local officials are optimistic that frustrated commuters will notice that it is not only personal vehicles zipping past them on the toll lanes.

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

In Austin, it's a constant: Traffic. There’s recent statewide and local efforts to mitigate congestion – which will take substantial investment and extensive construction. So despite proposals in the pipeline, traffic will continue to be a slow-going, fast-growing problem . So, it got us wondering: What are the worst intersections in Austin?

Ben Johnson

Many people the world over are inspired by the Austin sound. But Dallas native and composer Ben Johnson found his inspiration in the sounds of Austin. Literally. In fact, The Sounds of Austin, Texas is the title of his new album a collection of impressionistic pieces inspired by his adopted hometown, where he studied music in college. Johnson considers his latest album a collection of love songs to Austin. Johnson mixes field audio recordings from sites all over the Austin area with his own custom piano compositions, each dedicated to a particular place.

There are few things most drivers despise more than sitting in traffic. Add the sweltering heat of a Texas summer day, and you’ve introduced even more suffering. That’s bad news for Austin, a city that was ranked fourth-worst nationally for traffic in 2013. A good deal of this infamous congestion is born along MoPac. Designed in 1961 to meet the needs of less than a quarter of a million people, MoPac has been under strain since the beginning of Austin’s demographic boom. Today, the design is simply incapable of meeting the needs of the city’s burgeoning population.

Can MoPac Be 'Fixed?'

Aug 30, 2013
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

About a thousand people a day move to Texas. And if you’re driving on the MoPac expressway at rush hour, it might feel like every one of them is commuting with you. That's how Sara Robertson feels most days. She's been commuting on MoPac for about eight years. “And every year it gets longer and longer,” Robertson says.

flickr.com/rutlo

Update : A sprawling discussion on the Austin page of Reddit - prompted by a photo of bicyclists on I-35 - has renewed interest in this topic. Read on for more details. Original story (April 3, 2013): Despite general public perception – and all standards of common sense – it’s actually legal to ride bicycles on the state highway. Recently, users on the Austin page of Reddit got into a heated discussion about the legality of riding a bike on Mopac, when one user posted a photo of a couple people doing just that.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Overnight lane closures on MoPac between Lady Bird Lake and Parmer Lane have begun. They'll last from now until the end of July as roadway designers begin a plan to add toll lanes. The MoPac Improvement Project will expand the highway by adding one express lane in each direction. It will also make renovations, including bicycle and pedestrian accommodations , soundproofing , and aesthetic enhancements. Steve Pustelnyk is the Director of Community Relations for the MoPac Improvement Project....

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Sections of I-35 and MoPac are singled out in a new report as being among the 100 top traffic challenges in the Texas. The report (PDF) by TRIP , a national transportation research group, identifies four problem areas here in Austin. The worst and the toughest to fix, they say, is a stretch of U.S. 290 from MoPac to Farm Road 1826. The road offers no access for emergency vehicles during rush hours. The group suggests rebuilding the route as a six-lane toll road. Another problem area is I-35...

courtesy flickr.com/alienratt

Good morning. Central Texas winds have slowed down today as Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Traffic Relief for Some Austin Commuters Some northbound Austin drivers should see traffic relief starting tomorrow. Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson John Hurt tells KUT News that the flyover from northbound MoPac to eastbound U.S. 290 will open up sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning – before most commuters head to work. Right now, those drivers have to go through a traffic light and down a frontage road before getting on Ben While Boulevard. Hurt says the other part of the project – a flyover from westbound 290 to southbound MoPac – won’t be complete until around Thanksgiving.

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