Traffic, public transit, congestion, road construction and closures, I-35, MoPac, US 290, US 183, Ben White Blvd, and policy and planning issues related to transportation and mobility in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson.

Photo Courtesy by Texas Department of Transportation

The Texas Transportation Commission announced John Barton to be TxDOT's interim executive director. Barton's appointment takes into effect on September 1.

Barton also serves as Assistant Executive Director for Engineering Operations and currently have over 25 years of experience from TxDOT.  He was responsible for the management and control of several projects and programs including Aviation, Bridge, Design, Environmental Affairs, Rail and Research & Technology Implementation Office.

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The city says it's closing the intersection of Medical Parkway and 40th Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Detours will get people around the area.

Work crews will be installing about 70 feet of storm drain piping across Medical Parkway that is intended to reduce the possibility of flooding if it rains heavily. It's part of a city project called the Rosedale Storm Drain Improvement.

Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

Both the wallets and the gas tanks of Austinites might be a little more full this weekend. Gas prices are down by more than seven cents since last Friday.   

A gallon of regular unleaded is now selling for an average of $3.521 in Austin, according to AAA.  The national average is $3.606 a gallon.

People got a chance to climb aboard the possible future of Austin's mass transit system on Thursday. Kinkisharyo, a Japanese-based streetcar manufacturer, is taking its new prototype on an American tour.

The streetcar runs on a combination of power from batteries and overhead wires, storing energy when the train brakes and eliminating the need for overhead wires in parts of the route, Kinkisharyo project manager Bill Kleppinger said.

Photo by mirsasha

Red light cameras can cause traffic accidents at intersections to drop by 25 percent, according to a new study by the traffic scientists at Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute.

Red light cameras are installed at 275 intersections across Texas. They automatically snap photos of cars that run red lights. The drivers are sent a ticket in the mail.

The traffic-ologists at TTI examined 11,000 crash records from all those red light camera intersections. They found that red light crashes dropped by a quarter, and right-angle or “T-bone” crashes plummeted by 32 percent.

Erik Reyna, KUT News

For the past few weeks, gas prices have been ticking up by between a nickel and a dime a gallon. But the latest price report from AAA shows the rate of increase may be slowing. The average price of regular unleaded rose by only 1.7 cents last week.

A gallon of gas in Austin is an average of $3.602 today. A week ago it was selling at $3.585. Still a lot more than what we were paying a year ago, when regular unleaded was $2.563 per gallon.

Travis County residents are giving County Commissioners their two cents at a public hearing on the county bond package proposal. The proposal, unveiled last week, is a $206 million bond of 36 various transportation, park and utility line projects. This bond is an abbreviated list from an earlier proposal that of about $638 million.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The extension of downtown parking meters was already delayed once, from August 1 to September 6, because of delays in equipment orders. But now politics could push that date back even further.

The new rules would extend downtown parking meter hours to run from 8 am until midnight from Monday through Saturday. Currently, meters run from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.

The extension would also affect meters throughout Austin. Outside the downtown core, meters would run from 8 am until 6 pm.

Two flyover ramps were being constructed to complete this interchange in southwest Austin.

Drivers looking forward to the completion of two flyover bridges linking MoPac and US 290 will have to wait a few extra months. The contractor building the bridges, Las Vegas-based Wiser Construction, has declared bankruptcy.

“I think they just realized they were in over their head,” Texas Department of Transportation spokesman John Hurt told KUT News.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Tight budget times have agencies, companies, families, everybody… looking for creative ways to either spend less money or make more. Capital Metro’s starting to explore that “make more money” option.

The transit agency hired a consultant to look into the value of the naming rights to its rail and “park and ride” stops.  Cap Metro’s Audit and Finance Committee’s meeting at 12 noon today to start talking about the naming rights option, and to see much they might be able to make off the venture. 

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.

Photo by Flickr user pantagrapher

U.S. and Mexican authorities today signed an agreement that will allow trucks from both countries to carry goods far beyond the border separating the two.

This map shows lane closures around the W Hotel and the location of a "flash mob" rush hour water fight.

After glass fell from the W Hotel for the third time in just over two weeks yesterday, the city is taking no chances and is closing lanes around the building until further notice. But one of the alternative routes also happens to be where a group of people are planning an impromptu water fight during rush hour.

From the Austin Transportation Department, here are the closures:

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.

View Ben White Closure in a larger map

Construction on Ben White Freeway interchange will begin at 8 p.m. tonight, and last till Sunday morning. TxDOT will divert west-bound traffic on to east-bound lanes configuring one lane in each direction for about two miles.

Image courtesy Google Maps.

The City of Austin is warning drivers to be aware of lane closures and detours beginning this Saturday, due to water main work in the area of Walsh Tarlton Lane and Loop 360 - near the Barton Creek Square Mall. The detours will last through the rest of the summer, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. 

From the City:

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:

View Rio Grande and 24th St. Closure in a larger map

It might be harder to cruise around West Campus this weekend when a major intersection shuts down for construction.

Beginning on Friday at 9 am, the intersection at Rio Grande St. and 24th St. will be closed and will not reopen until Monday at 6 am. The street is being closed because crews are working on water lines, storm drains and road reconstruction.

View Riverside lane reduction June-Sept 2011 in a larger map

It might be disgusting to visualize, but the sewer lines serving downtown are at capacity, and now the city is building another tunnel to relieve central Austin of all its “wastewater”. For drivers, that means lane closures on Riverside Dr. at S. 1st St. until September.

The closures will reduce east bound traffic on Riverside to one lane from the traffic circle in front of the Long Center all the way to S. 1st St. Two lanes will be open westbound.