Time Warner Cable News 6/16/15 10:12 AM CDT By Victoria Maranan -VIDEO-
Interstate 35 traffic might not be as bad in the near future.
“I’m very proud that this is a community-driven process to improve I-35,” Sen. Kirk Watson said.
Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Austin and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization launched Mobility 35, a 10-year, $4.3 billion project to get the congested highway moving.
Plans include adding one lane both ways to the upper decks of I-35 between MLK and Airport boulevards and depressing, or basically burying, the main lanes from 15th Street to Lady Bird Lake.
“What happens to I-35 in Texas impacts the economies of our state, our country and other nations, and ultimately our quality of life,” TxDOT executive director Joe Weber said.
TxDOT has wanted to fix I-35 for decades, but couldn’t overcome a key road block.
“The needs on I-35 exceed funding, and funding has always and will continue to be a challenge,” Weber said.
Lawmakers have recently pushed for more transportation funding, and voters approved putting millions of dollars every year into road projects. Now, thanks to that money, plans like Mobility 35 are finally getting traction, but transportation officials say it will take more than funding to fix the problem.
“We’ve got to have a cultural change on how we travel and get around in this state,” Weber said.
Now that Mobility 35 is on the road, it will take the same amount of community effort for the project to reach its destination, officials say.
“I-35 is big, it’s ugly and everyone knows that it will take a really Herculean effort with a lot of dough to make significant long overdue and difficult changes in our region,” Watson said.
If TxDOT gets all the funding it needs on time, all projects will be completed by 2025. Visit www.my35.org for updates.