At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders were implemented and there were dramatically fewer cars on the road. During this period, there was a temporary reprieve from Austin’s long commutes which allowed the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority to address key traffic issues and make headway on projects that might have been limited by the usual congestion on key roads. After an initial drop in the number of cars on the road, area roads have rebounded to about 80% of pre-pandemic traffic. The Mobility Authority understands that it is crucial that our roadway infrastructure needs to be able to support the city’s continued growth, both in the near-term and for decades to come; which is why they have been not only addressing and planning strategies to help resolve issues regarding former mobility challenges, but also focusing on improving transportation for the future after Covid-19. 

What has this agency been working on specifically for the last few months? Their team was able to “open two lanes of the $127 million 290/130 flyovers project ahead of schedule, which will give drivers safe, efficient, free-flowing connections between two key roadways. We have also made progress on the $750 million 183 South project, which will serve as a true north-south alternative to IH-35. Both projects address key congestion points in the Austin area by providing travel options that simultaneously free up non-tolled roads, which make up 45% of the roadways built by the CTRMA.”  We are excited about their progress on these various projects and grateful for their resilient efforts to improve our incredible city. 

Another project that will be great for the city is Project Connect- a $7.1 billion transportation plan that includes a high capacity rail network. Although construction for this hasn’t begun yet, the assistant city manager for mobility, Gina Fiandaca, spoke about the next steps for Project Connect: “Work begins now to stand up a new local government corporation, the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP), to deliver Project Connect in a transparent, efficient and timely manner, in line with the Contract with Voters. Our immediate next steps are to recruit and appoint the first ATP board, craft its first budget, and begin the environmental process for individual projects. We look forward to engaging with the community as we move forward with our partners to reshape transit in Austin.”

Between the city’s increasing population density and the booming development rapidly changing Austin’s landscape, the need to solve congestion and improve mobility are greater than ever. The projects The Mobility Authority are working on as well as Project Connect are so valuable in more ways than one and we are looking forward to when all this hard work starts to truly benefit the lives of others. Read more about The Mobility Authority’s mission to ensure that they are prepared for the transportation issues poised around the region’s inevitable growth here and read more about how Project Connect will revolutionize our transportation infrastructure here.

Download the archived PDF of the Austin Business Journal article.

Download the archived PDF of the Patch article.

Featured photo by Typhoonski | Dreamstime.com