TxDot asking for help to Create Gateway I-35 bridge

Tx DOT wants you to help them redesign part of I-35.The plan is to create a gateway that will flow into another major project that’s in the works for downtown.

The I-35 overpass at Riverside Dr is outdated and certainly not much to look at. Tx DOT has a basic redesign plan on the drawing board. It involves adding new lanes on and around the bridge -- for cars, bikes and pedestrians. But road builders, according to TX DOT Spokesperson Kellie Reyna, are also open to suggestions.

"And what we want the community to come and do is come and tell us if we missed anything. Tell us if they want to see more sidewalks, or if there is another option that we haven't thought of or considered to help get you out of traffic,” said Reyna.

The goal is to build a community gateway- similar to the bridges in Kyle that span the interstate. While designers welcome creative ideas-- drivers like Allison Berguin don’t want function to take a back seat to fashion.

"Just a regular bridge … Nothing fancy,” said Berguin.

The riverside bridge is part of a $110 million project - which runs from Lady Bird Lake to just north of Oltorf. It includes improving the Woodland Ave overpass - making it more accessible for foot traffic. The curve in the interstate, which can cause a dangerous bottleneck, will also become straighter.

“Here in the downtown section, we have seen the crash average is at 153% over the statewide average for urban intersections, that tells us we need to do something to make this roadway safer,” said Reyna.

The final design of the bridge will set the tone for a much larger project along I-35, the big project through the heart of downtown.

From Cesar Chavez to MLK- the interstate is to be lower and wider -- with the possibility of some sections covered with open space.  New lanes will also be added to the Upper and Lower Decks. A specific Austin theme incorporated into the design could be featured from the Hwy 183 flyover to the Oltorf overpass.

"Everything we are doing on I-35 is not only looking to make some short term improvements but also some long term mobility improvements,” said Reyna.

Work on the Riverside bridge project could start in two years -- but TXDOT will first have to nail down funding.

Tx DOT will accept  on-line comments from July 21st – August 3rd. Comments can be submitted through a project link at my35.org/Capital