AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The gap, in what will be the new fly-over to southbound Highway 183, is where all the heavy lifting will take place starting Friday night. "This is a very delicate procedure, you are using a giant crane, these beams are huge," said TxDOT spokesperson Brad Wheelis.
The steel section that's going up, once fully assembled, weighs almost 500,000 lbs. That's like trying to lift 274 U.T. Bevo's at one time. A similar closure of I-35 by TxDOT took place in June.
A steel beam section was lifted and assembled over the southbound lanes of I-35.
This time the northbound lanes will have to be closed.
"We will not be putting the traffic pattern back to normal until 5am on Monday," said Wheelis.
Traffic heading toward Round Rock will be compressed into the southbound lanes that lead through downtown Austin. To make it happen, special equipment will be used like a barricade transfer device known as a zipper. Lindsay Transportation Solutions posted video of a demonstration of how lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge can be adjusted with the machine.
It quickly moves small concrete sections that look like the teeth of a zipper. "It just kind of picks it up, it looks like a zipper, and it moves the barriers over, to the left or to the right, we really couldn't do a traffic shift without them."
The work to continue building the I-35 flyover will also cause closures on Hwy 183. Those will happen later this month. "The watch words are, alternate routes if you can find another way to get around this, do so. SH130 is a great way around Austin, for folks who are probably stopping somewhere midway in Austin, MoPac is a great alternative as well. And depending on where you are coming from, US 183. So we do have a few alternate routes people can take to get around this area," said Wheelis.
As I-35 is put through the grinder, another road closure will be getting underway. But that one involves tearing down a bridge. The exits into downtown Austin and Airport Blvd from Hwy 183 North are closing. The northbound bridge over the Colorado River is being demolished as part of the Bergstrom Expressway - toll road project.
To get into the core part of East Austin - CTRMA spokesperson Steve Pustelnyk told FOX 7 commuters will have to take a new detour.
"You'll need to get to Bolm Rd, do a U Turn, head back south a bit, exit Right to Lavender Loop, and then you'll have access to all of those downtown streets, so it is a little bit of a detour, that's out of your way and it will be in place for about a year," said Pustelnyk.
The Hwy 183 river bridge closure, and detour, is expected to start Saturday.