Businesses, groups push back against current I-35 expansion plan

Pushback is being aimed at TxDOT’s plan to widen I-35 in Austin

"I want to be clear. I oppose TxDOT‘s latest I-35 widening plan because it’s wrong for our environment, it’s wrong for our economy, it’s wrong for our safety and it won’t even fix traffic," said Austin City Council member Greg Casar.

In March, TxDOT released a $4.9 billion proposal to expand I-35, but this expansion would cost more then just money. 

"Let’s bring jobs and housing back to Austin instead of bulldozing local businesses and homes," said Haden Walker, representative of Reconnect Austin.

On Wednesday, businesses and groups, along with Casar, voiced their concerns on the project. One of the businesses which would be demolished is Star’s Cafe. 

Owner Shannon Sedwick is worried a building which has been in Austin since the late 60s might be in danger of going away. "TxDOT does not need to take away our special places without even talking to us. We want the neighborhood to have a voice," she said.

Casar, who has the interstate run right through his district, is concerned widening I-35 would not solve the congestion problem. "Our experience in Houston, and our experience in Los Angeles and even the experience of TxDOT’s top engineer in front of City Council yesterday was that widening this highway will not build our way out of congestion," said Casar.

In the proposal, the upper decks would be removed allowing for move lanes to cut through downtown at ground level.

TxDOT is still taking public comments at this time with construction is expected around 2025.

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