I-35 in South Austin is set to be closed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) Friday night.
All lanes, North and South, are being shut down in order to tear down an overpass. The project kicks off an interstate makeover that could take two decades to complete.
Eight-year-old Evan Herrin loves his bike; especially the way the wind hits him in the face when he rides really fast. "It’s like your tears come out, it’s like you are crying."
Evan's tears may be from of joy, but come Friday night commuters on I-35 may be crying out in frustration.
Advisory signs are now up. The demolition of the Slaughter Creek overpass requires the interstate to be shut down from 11:00 Friday night until 10 in the morning Saturday. To allow construction workers to finish the job, I-35 will be closed again Saturday night during the same time period.
"This is an important artery for anybody visiting the South Park Meadows facility or again, to prevent you from having to go down to Onion Creek Pkwy. It does serve a few apartment complexes in the area, so it is a vital East West connection,” said TX DOT spokesperson Kelli Reyna.
While the closure is only scheduled for this weekend, the entire $9.2 million replacement project is expected to last a full year. Orange construction barrels and barricades will not be limited to the Slaughter Creek location.
Over the next several years, more will start going up along I-35.
The Slaughter Creek overpass is one of seven projects, between Round Rock and San Marcos getting underway this year. Some will take only 12 months to complete, others may last until 2020. By then, work may begin on rebuilding the interstate through the city core -- which is typically in a constant state of gridlock.
The hope is expansion projects along Hwy 183 and Mo-Pac will be completed. The new roads will provide commuters with alternate routes. Friday, several drivers, like Roy Rivera, got an early taste of what’s to come when they were surprised that the slaughter creek overpass had already been closed.
"If it makes it better for the long run it will be ok, but as far as, during the time of the construction, it will be a burden,” said Rivera.
All totaled, there's a little more than 40 construction projects scheduled for 65 miles of I-35. It’s estimated it may take at least 15 years to complete all of them. Which means by then Evan Herrin will be a grown man who may still need his bicycle to get around.
Another major road project is also beginning Friday night.
A new bridge is being built over Loop 1- Mo-Pac at the Loop 360 interchange. All southbound lanes on MoPac will be closed as well as the exit ramp to Loop 360 which is also known as the Capitol of Texas Highway. Some northbound lanes will also be closed. Traffic is being diverted, around the construction, to the frontage roads.
APD will be on site to help direct traffic. Work is scheduled to be completed by Sunday morning. If you are heading south out of Austin this weekend, it may be best to cut across to SH 130 to avoid the construction.