April 13, 2010
For years, four ramps near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Ben White Boulevard ended mid-air. Soon, that will change.
On Tuesday, representatives from various transportation agencies broke ground on what will become the four final connector bridges at the busy interchange.
“It will relieve congestion for the immediate area,” said Senator Kirk Watson of Austin. “And it will directly cut drive times for a huge amount of our population that lives and works south of Ben White.”
Driver Diana Barnett is one of those drivers. For years she has passed through stoplights and, in some cases, train tracks, to get from one route to the next.
“My husband and I have been talking about it and hoping they’d make the connection,” she said.
The project is expected to take 18 months; although, the Texas Department of Transportation is offering an incentive for an earlier completion.
According to TxDOT spokesperson John Hurt, the contractor would gain a bonus by wrapping up sooner.
The total cost for the new ramps is $26 million, and they will be paid for through state funding raised under Proposition 14. TxDOT says as many as 42,000 vehicles will use the ramps each day.
The project was originally scheduled to wrap up in 2005, but was cut short when funding ran out.