Phoenix-based Pulice Construction broke ground on the $606 million I-35 Capital Express North project in Austin, Texas, on March 29, according to a Texas DOT press release. The aging highway has topped most-congested lists for years, and has also been the site of many pedestrian, bike and other traffic deaths, according to Texas’ Vision Zero data. Work is slated to be complete in late 2028.
This project is the second of three in the I-35 Capital Express Program in North, Central and South Austin to begin construction. The two other I-35 projects being built in the area as part of the Texas Clear Lanes effort are:
- $548 million I-35 Capital Express South, which runs from US 290 West to SH 45 Southeast. Irving, Texas-based Fluor broke ground on the project last year.
- $4.5 billion I-35 Capital Express Central, which runs from US 290 East to US 290 West. It is set to begin construction in 2024.
The I-35 North project will add one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction along the interstate between SH 45 North and Hwy 290 in north central Austin. It also entails reconstructing six bridges, building a diverging diamond interchange at Wells Branch Parkway, rebuilding entrance and exit ramps and creating paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
“The I-35 Capital Express North project represents an essential transportation route for local commuters,” said Texas DOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson in a press release. “Today, we celebrate a project that offers enhanced safety and improved mobility, as well as reliable transit options and better bike and pedestrian paths.”
However, not everyone is happy with the project — local protesters were on site at the groundbreaking trying to drown out the presentation, KXAN reported. Area advocacy group Rethink35 is pushing for alternatives that don’t entail highway expansion, including rerouting non-local traffic and replacing I-35 with a boulevard.