Closures plague East 51st and I-35 as roundabout opening nears


Highlights

Crews closed the southbound frontage road at 51st Thursday evening to complete the new traffic circle.

Movements on East 51st were likewise changed in the final run up to opening the roundabout early Sunday.

Looking to go to East 51st Street and Interstate 35’s southbound frontage road in the next couple of days?

Don’t.

Road crews were slated to begin frantic work late Thursday evening to open a roundabout that the Texas Department of Transportation is installing where the I-35 frontage road meets 51st, and a series of closures there will make it impassible for some trips.

The southbound frontage road will be closed Thursday evening as it approaches 51st, and 51st will be closed at the frontage road. The only movement possible at that point will be for those driving west on East 51st over the I-35 overpass, and those drivers were be forced to turn south on the frontage road.

Beginning about 10 a.m. Friday, people going westbound on 51st will be allowed to keep going west, but will lose that possible left turn onto the frontage road. Eastbound 51st will remain closed at the frontage road during Friday and Saturday.

READ: Here’s the plan for East 51st and I-35

If all goes as planned — crews in several spots will have to lay down more than two feet of asphalt to fill in current gaps in the roundabout — a one-lane, very rough version of the full roundabout will open by 5 a.m. Sunday, TxDOT says. The traffic circle, in a decidedly unfinished form, will replace the traffic signals that have controlled that intersection for decades.

“If you don’t absolutely need to go through that area for the next few days, it might be best to avoid it,” said Diann Hodges, a spokeswoman for TxDOT’s Austin district.

The overall $16.5 million project, which includes construction of a southbound bypass under the 51st Street overpass and other changes to the frontage road, should be done by late spring, Hodges said. Between now and then, Hodges said, a second lane will be added to the roundabout and the center of it will be landscaped.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

FORECAST: Cold front sinks temps into 40s ahead of storms; high of 55 in Austin
FORECAST: Cold front sinks temps into 40s ahead of storms; high of 55 in Austin

Wednesday forecast for Austin: An overnight cold front has caused a severe drop in morning temperatures and will usher in a round of storms that could produce as much as three-quarters of an inch of rain, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say isolated to widely scattered showers will move north-northeast across the Hill Country and along...
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months

An armed robbery occurred Tuesday night at a Subway fast food restaurant on San Antonio Street near West 24th Street, University of Texas police said. At 10 p.m., police said they were looking for the robber, who witnesses described as a man wearing baggy clothing, who might be in his mid-30s.  This is the the fifth Subway to be robbed in...
Manchaca vs. Menchaca: Step closer to renaming South Austin road
Manchaca vs. Menchaca: Step closer to renaming South Austin road

It’s always been a head-scratcher for outsiders — Austinites pronouncing Manchaca Road as “MAN-shack.” But after decades of confusion, will Austin finally get it right? After six years and more than $24,000 raised, retired Judge Bob Perkins certainly hopes so. Since 2011, he’s been a champion for Texas Revolutionary captain...
Mayor Adler’s State of City address covers taxes, CodeNext and Russia
Mayor Adler’s State of City address covers taxes, CodeNext and Russia

Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivered Tuesday a State of the City address that blamed the state for continual rises in property tax bills, touted the numerous amount of road projects ahead that will — hopefully — improve traffic and vowed to make Austin a global leader. In an address that checked in at about 42 minutes, Adler hit on many of...
Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board
Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board

The suddenly short-handed Texas Transportation Commission Tuesday gained a new member, business investor, rancher and former San Angelo Mayor Alvin New. New, a life-long West Texan who was born in Brownfield and has lived in or near San Angelo since 1981, will replace Tryon Lewis of Odessa. Lewis, who until September had been chairman of the five-member...
More Stories