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New Report Highlights Solutions To Central Texas Traffic Congestion
Every month, thousands of people move to Austin adding to the congestion on our major highways, but we found out there are solutions to our traffic.
"I think the traffic is horrible. Each year as I drive to work its just more congested," says Julie Vasquez, Austin resident.
Austin residents agree something has to be done. A new report by the National Transportation Group has outlined solutions to ease Central Texas congestion.
The four problems areas highlighted are US 290 from MoPac to RM 1826, I-35 between SH 71 and US 183, MoPac from US 183 to US 290 and Loop 360 from US 290 to Bee Caves.
We tracked down Steve Pustelnyk with the Central Texas Mobility Authority who is working to fix one of them. "We've now got approval for that project. We're close to construction, hoping around this year, around May, folks will see dirt moving around on MoPac," he says.
By 2015 drivers on MoPac will have the option of getting from Parmer Lane to Downtown Austin a lot quicker on a toll express lane.
"If we added another lane it would quickly become congested like the others, so what we're trying to do is create a lane that goes the entire distance that you know is always going to be free flowing ," says Pustelnyk.
Drivers who use the express lane will pay for the $200 million project through toll fees. Rates will fluctuate and could be as low as 25 cents in off-hours, to more than $5 during peak use.
"It's a driver driven pricing structure," says Pustelnyk.
An environmental study is currently underway and in two to three years, construction could extend the express lane to Slaughter Lane.
We checked into the three other problem areas of Austin. The National Transportation Group says Loop 360 needs grade separations at major intersection roadways. We found out TXDOT has been trying to start this project, but the nearby community shot it down.
As far as congestion on Hwy 290, a six lane toll road with frontage roads has been recommended, but at a projected cost of $672 million.
And I-35 would need auxiliary lanes, intersection improvements, ramp revisions, frontage road improvements and possibly an express lane.
TXDOT did not return our calls to address either one of these recommendations.
Well continue to bring you updates on these projects and proposals. To see the full report, go to http://www.tripnet.org/docs/TX_TRIP_Austin_Transp_Challenges_NR_01-17-13.pdf.
By Ashley Miller