Austin gets $105M grant for I-35 freeway cap at Cesar Chavez

Plans to build caps-and-stitches across I-35 now have the backing of the federal government.

The city of Austin has received approval for a $105 million federal grant for its Our Future 35 project.

The city intends to use this money to build a 5.3-acre freeway cap over the lower sections of I-35 between Cesar Chavez and 4th Street.

The City’s "Our Future 35" initiative aims to construct caps and stitches, otherwise known as platforms or lids, over portions of I-35 in Central Austin being reconstructed as part of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Capital Express Central Project.

A rendering shows a conceptual vision for a cap over I-35 between Cesar Chavez Street and Fourth Street.  (City of Austin)


Caps are large decks over a stretch of highway that could be covered by large parks or buildings.

The city says the freeway cap was identified as a "strong candidate project" for the grant due to the enhanced connections it will provide residents of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood to downtown, including a potentially uninterrupted walking and biking corridor across I-35 at Third Street that requires no frontage road crossings.

The City will contribute a $45 million local match to the project to fund a majority of the amenity construction. The City will also coordinate with TxDOT on the design and engineering of the cap structure and anticipates a robust public process to determine the design of amenities on top that will be constructed after the structure is built.

The City is also exploring other ways to cover the cost of construction in other areas of this project, which could include more grants, philanthropy, and phasing strategies.