Sunday, November 21, 2010

Improvements proposed for SH 71

Updated: Tuesday, 16 Nov 2010, 6:08 AM CST
Published : Tuesday, 16 Nov 2010, 5:15 AM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Tuesday night TxDot is looking for feedback concerning some improvements they want to make to state highway 71 that could make it easier to get from Austin to the airport and 130.

"Congestion, congestion, congestion," said John Hurt, TxDot.

Those three words are why TxDot has been keeping an eye on state highway 71.

"For a decade we've been watching the development of traffic patterns, the quarry trucks out there," said Hurt.

First the airport then 130 has made 71 a main thoroughfare.

"Plus it's one of the main routes to Houston," said Hurt.

All things considered, TxDot is now in the final planning stage to make three changes so traffic keeps moving. First, have 71 go under Riverside Drive eliminating the stop at the light. Second, remove three median crossovers at Brandt Drive and Thornbury Road as well as a truck crossover.

"It doesn't have a name it's just a u-turn lane in the middle of 71," said Hurt.

And third create what's called a "super street" starting at FM 973.

"Basically eliminates left turns from side streets," said Hurt. "They'll be able to turn right on red or green, go down to a little crossover, and come back up that way."

The total cost for all three projects is $46 million dollars. All financed with TxDot, state, and federal funds that are already in place. Now it just needs the public's okay.

"The public has to approve it and that's one of the reasons we're having the meeting tonight, if there is serious opposition to it find out why," said Hurt.

Tuesday night's open house is being held at the Del Valle Opportunity Center Cafeteria from 5 to 8pm.

If the project is approved TxDot hopes to have part of the project completed by the end of next year.


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