New $4.3 billion plan for Interstate 35 in Austin would add lanes

Interstate 35 through East Austin.Interstate 35 through East Austin.

Texas officials announced on June 15 a new 10-year, $4.3 billion plan to ease congestion on Interstate 35 in Austin.

The conceptual plan would add new lanes along the upper decks of the interstate between Airport Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard through central Austin, according to KXAN in Austin.

“The need to address I-35 is real and the stakes are high,” Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Joe Weber said. “I-35 is not just a critical path through Austin, it’s our state’s main street corridor, helping businesses move commerce throughout the country and providing commuters access in and out of their local communities.”

Texas Sen. Kirk Watson, TxDOT and the city of Austin rolled out the plan devised by Mobility35—which is a partnership between TxDOT, Austin, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and local residents to come up with a 10-year plan for I-35 in the area.

Mobility35’s plan is four years in the making and involves 30 projects across the area. The entire thing could be done by 2025 if the massive price tag of $4.3 billion gets funding.

The new plan would also involve the following to improve the section of I-35 through Austin:

  • I-35 would go under 15th Street to ease the main lanes of the interstate in downtown Austin.
  • An additional southbound I-35 lane that now ends at 12th Street would be extended to Cesar Chavez Street.
  • There would be better bicycle and pedestrian access.
  • The interstate would be lowered 25 feet below frontage-road level through Downtown Austin from Cesar Chavez Street to north of 15th