Highway planners are looking for Southeast Austin neighborhood representatives who are interested in serving on an advisory group on proposed changes to Texas State Highway 71.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority have proposed the SH 71 Express Project, designed to reduce congestion, improve access to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, enhance safety and accommodate transit, bicycles and pedestrians.
Planners are considering:
- Adding one new toll lane in each direction on Texas 71 from Presidential Boulevard to the Texas 130 toll road.
- Realigning the intersection of FM 973 and Texas 71.
- Building a bridge over Texas 130 and connecting ramps between the new express/toll lanes and the main lanes of Texas 71 and Texas 130.
- Widening Texas 71 between Presidential Boulevard and FM 973 to ensure at least three nontolled through-lanes in each direction.
In order to incorporate safety and mobility needs, preserve natural and cultural resources and develop aesthetic concepts for the project, planners will use a collaborative Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) approach that includes an advisory group of local residents and other stakeholders. The results of the six-month process will be presented to the public for their input.
Neighborhood representatives who are interested in serving on the CSS Advisory Group are invited to attend a workshop at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Austin Department of Aviation Learning and Resource Center, 2800 Spirit of Texas Drive. If attending, RSVP by July 31 to a representative of consulting firm Atkins Global at Sharon.Becca@AtkinsGlobal.com.
In addition to the workshop for prospective advisory group members, an open house will explain the project and get public feedback on three themes.
SH 71 Express Project Open House
When: 6 p.m. Aug. 13
Where: Del Valle Opportunity Center, 5301-B Ross Road
Contact: Project manager Marisabel Ramthun, Marisabel.Ramthun@txdot.gov, (512) 832-7216
Other major road projects in the area include a $44 million project to create an underpass on Texas 71 at East Riverside Drive, a $975,000 project to resurface Burleson Road near U.S. 183 and an $8.2 million project to widen Todd Lane. See an aerial plan for the big dig at Riverside, which will create a nonstop freeway to the airport once completed in 2014.
Update: On Aug. 5, the Austin American-Statesman took a behind-the-scenes look at TxDOT construction at 71 and East Riverside. See videos, photos and an infographic of the work at the intersection, where two bridges, six below-ground freeway lanes and six ground-level frontage lanes are being built to handle traffic that is expected to more than double in 20 years.