Austin's booming northwest corridor is quickly outgrowing Mopac's capacity, but the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has a plan for relief.
"We're going to be making changes in terms of sound walls along each side of the roadway, we're going to be widening the roadway,” Steve Pustelnyk with the CTRMA said. “It'll be a dramatically different corridor when we're done."
The new MoPac express lanes will run from Parmer Lane to downtown.
"We're not taking any homes, we're not taking any property. We're trying to expand within the existing corridor so we don't disrupt the community around the roadway," Pustelnyk said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in about six weeks, but some changes have been made to the final design. They've added 5th Street access for the southbound lane.
"The ramps will operate better and more safely if we do allow Fifth Street access."
And planners decided to go under the main lanes instead of over. By doing so, crews won't have to build the tall overpasses which will help maintain the neighborhood aesthetic.
"It will be less disruptive to the travelling public and it will make it easier for our contractor to build," Pustelnyk said.
Leaders say the project won't solve the congestion problem, but is instead intended to make mass transit quicker and more attractive.
“It's the type of facility where when you have a very important trip, and you really need to get there, you have an option that you don't have today," Pustelnyk said. “And if we can get more people on the bus, more people into van pools, we're moving more people, not just more cars."
Planners are having an open house for people to look over changes on the Mopac Express Lanes project. They'll meet at O. Henry Middle School Thursday evening.
The new lanes are expected to open for traffic in late 2015.