Austin I-35 Super Street Concept Dropped

Yesterday TxDOT announced that it has dropped the Austin I-35 Super Street Concept and will now be offering alternatives.

Thank you Austin!

Now we await the revised concepts, and we’ll keep you posted as they develop.

If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to fill out the somewhat flawed (more on that soon) Mobility35 Travis County Neighborhood Survey.

Here is the full text of TxDOT’s announcement:

Austin I-35 Super Street Concept Dropped

I-35 through the heart of Austin is the most congested highway in Texas, and through downtown it has a much higher crash rate than the statewide average for urban interstates. To address these problems, the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of Austin have been working with stakeholders for more than two years to identify and evaluate strategies for improving I-35. These efforts led to the development of the Mobility 35 Plan for Travis County (also known as the I-35 Capital Area Improvement Program Corridor Implementation Plan) which was released in August 2013. The Mobility 35 Plan identifies a recommended program of projects and strategies aimed at enhancing mobility along and across I-35.

Texas Super Streets were among the strategies recommended in the plan. As a result of ongoing dialogue and feedback from stakeholders, Texas Super Streets are no longer proposed for I-35 in Austin. Instead, TxDOT has identified other strategies for enhancing frontage road mobility and safety while reducing driver inconvenience. These strategies represent a menu of frontage road modification options that can be tailored to site-specific intersection conditions.

Although the frontage road modification options are still being refined and evaluated, and each intersection will be considered on a case-by-case basis, it is anticipated that direct east/west movements could be accommodated at most of the current crossing locations.

Similarly, with the current exception of 6th Street, bicyclists and pedestrians would continue to have east/west access at all points where current crossings exist. TxDOT continues to work with stakeholders at 6th Street to examine alternatives that would keep this movement available. Police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances would be able to cross I-35 at any crossing location when responding to emergencies.

The key to improving I-35 frontage road operations is to identify the best individual solution at each crossing, then ensure the crossings work together as a safe and efficient system. TxDOT and the city of Austin remain committed to that goal.

A Travis County neighborhood survey has been posted. So far, we’ve heard from more than 920 people and we want to hear from you! Information learned from the survey will be considered by the project team as the frontage road modification options are further refined and evaluated.

(Editor’s Note: Super Streets, as originally proposed in the plan, eliminate left-turn movements from the cross streets and eliminate east/west traffic flow across the frontage roads. Instead of traditional left and straight movements, drivers first turn right onto the frontage road and then u-turn before continuing to their destination. The resulting traffic pattern serves to improve overall traffic flow through the intersections and decreases the need to stop frontage road traffic at signals. While Super Streets can be an effective tool to improve the flow of traffic through intersections, the project team has determined they will not move forward with this option.)

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