You might want to avoid northbound MoPac the next three nights. On the other hand, the MoPac forecast for the weekend is looking much better.
The highway’s main northbound lanes just south of Enfield Road will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, with all traffic diverted to the frontage road and through the Enfield traffic light — a change from the closures originally planned for this weekend, which forecasters now expect to be rainy.
Drivers coming from south of the river on MoPac will have to exit at Enfield Road and take a short detour that brings them back onto MoPac at the on ramp from Enfield. Drivers approaching the highway from West Cesar Chavez Street and West Sixth Street will take the same detour, said officials with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is overseeing the toll road construction that is behind the temporary closures.
City of Austin traffic officials will be monitoring the Enfield Road traffic signal, officials said, to increase green-light time northbound during the overnight closures in response to delays on the frontage road. And an Austin police officer will also be on hand to intervene if needed.
The good news for Austin drivers is that lane closures planned for the coming weekend during both the day and night, which likely would have caused long delays for northbound traffic, are now off the board. The work taking place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, repaving and striping of a section of MoPac and restoration of that section to three highway lanes, will be what was supposed to happen over the weekend.
“What we’re trying to do is beat the rain,” said Mike Heiligenstein, executive director of the mobility authority.
After the spate of rain, expected to last from Friday afternoon to sometime Monday, crews likely will close the road again for a night or two (probably as early as the night of Dec. 6) to paint striping on MoPac’s main lanes. At that point, all of northbound MoPac will once again have three lanes.
A few hundred yards of the road, just north of Lady Bird Lake, has been reduced to two lanes since April to allow crews to build a short tunnel under the road that will allow motorists from West Cesar Chavez to enter a fourth, tolled lane set to open in the spring.