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Mobility authority to unveil MoPac South options

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 by Tyler Whitson

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has announced that it will roll out a slew of new MoPac South alternatives online on Oct. 21 in preparation for an open house on Nov. 10 at the Palmer Events Center.

Members of the public will be able to provide comments on the alternatives as part of the forthcoming “virtual open house” as well as in person at the planned event.

MoPac South is a proposed expansion of the MoPac Expressway between Cesar Chavez Street and Slaughter Lane. The expansion could add as many as four tolled express lanes to the highway.

The project received scrutiny this spring when city of Austin and Travis County residents and officials raised concerns about the mobility authority’s proposal to “double-deck” – in the words of Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea – the highway by adding two raised lanes over Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park and a flyover connection with East Cesar Chavez.

Justin Word, director of project management with the mobility authority, told the City Council Mobility Committee on Oct. 7 that the organization will outline six options for the project. These include the “double-deck” proposal presented in February and an alternative that the Austin Transportation Department drafted without the raised lanes or East Cesar Chavez flyover.

Both of those options involve adding two express lanes in each direction to that strip of highway.

The other four alternatives consist of adding one express lane per direction with connections to and from Cesar Chavez; one express lane per direction without Cesar Chavez connections; two express lanes per direction with connections to and from Cesar Chavez; and two express lanes per direction without Cesar Chavez connections.

Word said that the mobility authority has taken into account suggestions from the city of Austin, the city of Rollingwood, Travis County and other stakeholders. These suggestions include adding direct connector ramps at U.S. 290, adding additional bicycle and pedestrian facilities north of R.M. 2244 and adding improvements at Lake Austin Boulevard and Fifth Street.

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