Traffic

Transportation
10:29 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Study: Bad Road Conditions Cost Austinites $1,200 a Year

Though construction is a common sight along Austin roads, a study finds several roads are in need of serious repair.
KUT News

Austin’s roads cost each local driver $1,200 a year. That's according to TRIP, a highway industry nonprofit. The organization also found that deficient roads in Texas cost drivers a total of $23 billion each year.

The report says poor road conditions cause accidents and additional traffic which lead to longer commute times and greater fuel usage. Substandard roads can also result in more wear and tear to vehicles and tires, resulting in higher maintenance costs. 

Overall, TRIP found that 18 percent of Texas’s major urban roads are in poor condition, while 27 percent are considered mediocre. Though $1,200 a year isn't chump change, the report still found Austin has the fewest number of roads in poor condition with nine percent. San Antonio ranks highest, with 33 percent of its roads in poor condition. 

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Austin
5:07 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

A Big Mess: Cleaning Up After This Morning's Fuel Spill

Austin Fire Department Crews are specially trained to respond to hazardous materials situations.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The frontage road of Interstate 35 between FM 1327 and Slaughter Lane is expected to be closed for much of the day after a fuel spill this morning.

For much of the morning, all northbound lanes of the highway were also closed in the area — causing major traffic delays.

The Austin Fire Department says an estimated 700 gallons of fuel spilled on the roadway when an 18-wheeler overturned, creating a need for careful cleanup that shut the highway through morning rush hour.

But AFD Battalion Chief Palmer Buck says, in years past, the closures would have been even longer because the department would have had to wait for the trucking company to send a cleanup team.

“The Austin Fire Department is one of the few teams that has the equipment and the expertise to do this," Buck says. "A decade ago, we would have had to wait six to eight hours before the operation even started, so we would be talking about sometime this evening before we got the roads open."

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Transportation
6:18 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Fuel Spill Shuts Down NB I-35 From FM 1327 to Slaughter

Northbound I-35 is closed from FM 1327 through Slaughter.
Map Data @2012 Google

Update (8:47 a.m.): Austin Police say the northbound lanes of I-35 are now open. The frontage road is still closed, however, until further notice.

Update (8:36 a.m.): AISD says Blazier Elementary School is being affected by the shutdown of I-35 - but the school is still open. The district says some buses headed for the school have been delayed, but classes have begun on time and buses are still going to the school. Buses that have not shown up to pick up students yet will be there eventually, the district says.

Update (7:53 a.m.): The City of Austin Transportation Department is controlling traffic lights on South 1st Street and Manchaca Road to give northbound drivers longer green lights.

Update (7:35 a.m.): Meantime, KUT News is confirming reports about a second incident causing delays on southbound I-35 between U.S. 183 and Rundberg Lane.

Update (7:10 a.m.): TxDOT is now waiving tolls on State Highway 45 Southeast and State Highway 130 between U.S. 183 and State Highway 71 while part of northbound I-35 is shut down this morning.

Update (6:25 a.m.): The Austin Fire Department says the overturned truck has spilled at least 700 gallons of fuel. It was carrying as much as 9,600 gallons of diesel, gasoline and ethanol. Emergency crews are trying to transfer the fuel to another trailer and have no estimate on how long that will take.

Original post (6:18 a.m.): A gas spill on northbound I-35 is expected to cause traffic delays through rush hour this morning.

Austin Police say northbound I-35 traffic including the frontage road will be diverted starting at FM 1327—that’s just north of State Highway 45.

Drivers won’t be allowed back on the highway until just north of Slaughter Lane.

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Transportation
12:52 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

When Will the Driverless Car Travel to Texas?

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is traveling to California to learn about Google's driverless car, pictured above.
flickr.com/jurvetson

Robots can perform surgerybuild machinerytrade stocks, and even write news stories. And now they can drive cars.

California legalized so-called self-driving cars yesterday. Nevada has actually issued a drivers license to a robot car. And while Texas isn't exactly stepping on the gas with regards to driverless cars, it isn't stuck in neutral either.

The only traffic-ready self-driving car is currently offered made Google – although it’s not for sale. The system uses sensors and computers to navigate through traffic. Current laws require a human to sit in the driver’s seat, in case something goes haywire with the computer.

Google says its fleet of six Toyota Priuses, an Audi TT, and a Lexus RX450 hybrid have logged more than 300,000 trouble-free miles. There have been two collisions, but the company says that neither was the robot driver’s fault.

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Public Safety
12:04 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Weekend Death 11th Fatal Hit-and-Run This Year

Sunday morning's fatal traffic accident, the 53rd of the year, occurred on the Congress Avenue Bridge.
flickr.com/rutlo

The hit-and-run death of a bicyclist on an Austin road this weekend was the 11th fatal incidence of a failure to stop and render aid this year, according to Austin Police.

The incident occurred early Sunday morning. Cyclist Robert Anthony Ramirez was on the Congress Avenue Bridge when police say he was struck by motorist Brian Adam Mahy:

On Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 4:34 a.m., Austin Police responded to an auto/bicyclist crash at 100 South Congress Avenue. The bicyclist was operating a bicycle southbound in the far right lane of the Congress Bridge. According to witnesses, a black Ford Mustang was operating at a high rate of speed in the center lane of southbound Congress Avenue. The Mustang then passed another vehicle to the right, placing him in the same lane as the bicyclist. The Mustang crashed into the bicyclist, then left the scene and did not stop to render aid to the bicyclist.

Ramirez was pronounced deceased at the scene. Mahy turned himself into police afterward, and was charged with second-degree felony intoxication manslaughter and third-degree felony failure to stop and render aid.

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Austin
10:52 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Two Less Spots, One More Park: Worldwide PARK(ing) Day in Austin

Two parking spots along Congress Avenue have been temporarily flipped into a "parklet."
Congress for the New Urbanism - Central Texas chapter

Finding a parking spot in downtown Austin can sometimes be a challenge. Today, for Worldwide PARK(ing) Day, there will be two fewer spaces – but supporters say the spaces’ transformation serves a greater purpose.

Two parking spaces on Congress Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, outside the Royal Blue Grocery, have been temporarily converted into a “parklet”— where, instead of parking, people are  invited to use the space as a park-like area to enjoy lunch, read a newspaper, or even just sit and chat.

The parklet conversion and local appreciation of Worldwide PARK(ing) Day is being overseen by the Central Texas chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which seeks to promote smarter civic design. It notes that Worldwide PARK(ing) Day started in 2005, when a San Francisco design firm converted a single metered parking space into a temporary pocket park.

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Austin
7:15 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Gas Leak Slows Down Traffic in South Austin

A gas leak has caused delays around Stassney Lane and Manchaca Road this morning.
Google Maps

Update 8:10 a.m. --

Crews have stopped a gas leak at Stassney Lane and Manchaca Road but traffic is still moving slowly in the area.

One lane of eastbound Stassney remains closed as does the right turn lane from Manchaca northbound to Stassney eastbound.

The Austin Independent School District says schools in the area – including Crockett High School – are starting on time but some buses are running late because of the slow-moving traffic.

Original Story --

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AM Update: 8/30/12
9:01 am
Thu August 30, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Flyover to Open, E-book Refund for Texans, Fried Cactus at the State Fair

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced an antitrust settlement with E-book publishers.
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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AM Update: 8/9/12
8:48 am
Thu August 9, 2012

AM Update: More Texas West Nile Deaths, Fewer Traffic Fatalities, More UT Glory in London?

Mosquito populations in Central Texas have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
flickr.com/45535917@N07

Nine West Nile Deaths in Dallas County

Dallas County Health and Human Services reports that nine people have died from West Nile Virus. More than 160 people have been infected.

Here in Travis County, one person has died from the virus. As of yesterday, health officials were investigating a total of eight West Nile Virus cases.

According to the Centers for Disease control, Texas has seen the most cases of West Nile Virus and the most cases of the more serious, neuroinvasive form of the disease.

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Transportation
9:00 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Oltorf Closed Between I-35 and Congress

Westbound commuters on Oltorf will need to find a different route to I-35.
City of Austin

Construction on Oltorf Street may disrupt your commute this week.

The city has closed part of Oltorf Street between South Congress Avenue and Interstate 35 to complete work on water lines. All westbound lanes are closed. One eastbound lane remains open.

The construction is scheduled to last through Friday but some closures may continue through the weekend.

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Transportation
1:40 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

TxDOT Launches Interactive Map of Driving Conditions

TxDOT

The Texas Department of Transportation has just launched a new website designed to give you all the information you need before you hit the road.

DriveTexas.org features an interactive map that shows you traffic and weather conditions, construction projects and other information.

But before you use the mobile version of the website, you have to certify that you understand you shouldn’t use the website while driving.

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Transportation
2:26 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

One Step Closer to Managed Toll Lanes on MoPac

The plan would put a managed lane - or toll lane - in each direction along MoPac north of Lady Bird Lake and south of Parmer.
flickr.com/mirsasha

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, better known as CAMPO, last night approved its MoPac Improvement Project.

The project will put a managed toll lane in each direction on MoPac, from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane. Toll pricing would be adjusted based upon MoPac's level of congestion at the time of use. The hope is to make traffic on the entire freeway move faster.

The $200 million project was put together by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is being paid for by state and federal funding. The agreement between the mobility authority and CAMPO also creates an infrastructure fund. Basically, $230 million in money collected from tolls on MoPac over the first 25 years of its operation will be used to pay for other transportation projects in the area.

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Austin
2:25 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

More Deaths on Austin Roads This Year

The streets of Austin are dangerous this year.
Emily Donahue for KUT News

Fatalities from traffic crashes in Austin are up this year – especially in incidents involving pedestrians.

After the deaths of three motorcyclists and one pedestrian over the weekend, the number of people killed in Austin crashes has reached 36 on the year. Those deaths coincided with the Republic of Texas Biker Rally.

Half of this year's 36 deaths have been accidents involving pedestrians. That’s up from 41 percent (22 deaths) in 2011 and 20 percent (10 deaths) in 2010. Austin Police say 10 of the pedestrians killed this year were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and one driver was impaired. 

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ROT Rally
12:59 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Street Closure Map for ROT Rally 2012

Motorcycles lined up for the 2010 ROT Rally.
Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally begins tonight and the Austin Police Department expects it to affect downtown traffic.

A motorcycle procession beginning at 8 p.m. will cause partial road closures along the route from the Travis Country Exposition Center, traveling downtown along E. MLK Boulevard, Webberville Road, Oak Springs Road and west on E. 11th Street.

The parade will conclude on Congress Avenue, where full road closures will take place until 3 a.m. between Cesar Chavez and East 11th Street, and between Colorado and Brazos streets.

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Transportation
10:42 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Red-Light Cameras Reducing Accidents While Revenue Shrinks

Police credit Austin's red light program with reducing accidents - but many violators have skirted paying their fines.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/rutlo

The city of Austin has cut the number of car crashes at ten of its most dangerous intersections in half. But how?

Red-light cameras that electronically photograph cars running red lights have been set up all over Austin. Over the past three years, these cameras have provided means to give almost 35,000 citations to those dangerous drivers.

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