TxDOT unveils design changes to $4.9B I-35 Capital Express Central project
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently presented design changes to its Interstate 35 Capital Express Central project to the community after making modifications in response to feedback from the public and the city of Austin.
TxDOT’s proposed $4.9 billion project will rebuild the highway through an 8-mile stretch of Central Austin. Construction is set to begin in late 2024 or early 2025. Design modifications presented include:
I-35 Capital Express North Riverside Rendering
Shifting all the highway’s frontage roads to the west side of I-35 between Cesar Chavez Street and Dean Keeton Street to improve access to core employment destinations, reduce potential impact on surrounding land uses, and improve accessibility to future freeway lid space.
Incorporating widened bridge crossings over a future lowered freeway design along with dedicated bicycle and pedestrian improvements, improving east-west connectivity as well as the opportunity for improved non-motorized access up and down the corridor.
Using roadway design standards tailored to fit the environment they are built in with the goal of a safer interstate compared to the current antiquated design.
The modified design will be carried forward along with another alternative and the no-build option as TxDOT develops its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), a federally required step under the National Environmental Protection Act. Another official public comment period will be open when TxDOT presents its locally preferred alternative in the DEIS, expected in late 2022.
Meanwhile, the city of Austin is working with TxDOT and the Downtown Austin Alliance to develop plans for caps and stitches, or lids and widened bridges over I-35.