Public Notice: I-35 Back on the Front Burner

TxDOT prepares the next draft of their rebuild plan

Public Notice: I-35 Back on the Front Burner

The Texas Department of Transportation is ready to present the next iteration of the Capital Express Central plan, the massive reconstruction project for an 8-mile stretch of I-35 through Central Austin; a virtual meeting next week will give you a better idea of what they and the city currently have in mind. Meanwhile, an ongoing virtual open house gives you an opportunity to weigh in on at least one aspect of the plan; deadline for comments is this Saturday.

As you may recall, TxDOT presented preliminary design alternatives last summer and got some significant pushback from the public and from city and county officials, complaining that the draft plans strayed from the agency's original "no higher, no wider" pledge, and asking generally that the mainlanes be better separated from local traffic, and the access roads and crossings be better integrated into the fabric of the local streetscapes. Through Downtown, for instance, planners hoped for the main­lanes to run underground, with parks, local streets, and pedestrian amenities covering much or all of what is now the highway's footprint: capping the highway, and stitching Downtown back together with East Austin.

Well, TxDOT has heard those concerns – they and the city Mobility staff say – and has made some significant modifications to address them. "According to TxDOT, the modifications support multimodal enhancements to the corridor, prioritize the use of existing right of way and improve bicycle and pedestrian access between the east and west sides of I-35," according to a city release this week. And a Jan. 7 memo to the Austin mayor and City Council – sent jointly by Gina Fiandaca, the assistant city manager for Mobility, and TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson – says that two entities "are coordinating during weekly and monthly meetings," and outlines some of the features of the revised plan: reduced frontage road speeds; reconfigured frontage roads, especially Downtown; Locally Influenced Visual Enhancements (Live35), an aesthetic design program; and some degree of cap and stitch. It also says they're "working through" other "possible design opportunities that could potentially improve the current project."

You can see that memo here, but the public unveiling of this new draft plan will come in what TxDOT calls a CapEX VOICE (Volunteer Oppor­tunity in Com­mun­ity Engage­ment) working group meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6-8pm at the Austin Central Library, and livestreamed on Zoom; register and get more info about the plan at

Meanwhile, the cap-and-stitch discussion is moving along on a somewhat parallel track, on the assumption that while TxDOT may design their build to accommodate such a plan, the city will be responsible for development, funding, and implementation. "The City of Austin and Downtown Austin Alli­ance are coordinating with TxDOT to build deck plazas, or caps, and enhanced crossings, or stitches, over I-35 downtown to connect east and west Austin," reads a separate city release this week, and they're taking public input on what that should look like; see info on the Austin Cap & Stitch Project, or send an email to ­[email protected]. Survey responses are requested by Sat., Jan. 15.

Among all the other cancellations and service curtailments around town, the Austin Animal Center will temporarily be closed to the public on Sundays starting Jan. 23, "due to staffing concerns related to COVID-19 and the difficulty in filling open vacancies." And like a lot of places, they're hiring to fill several vacant positions; see info at

Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors, and other useful grist to nbarbaro at

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Public Notice
Public Notice: Brave New World
Public Notice: Brave New World
Remaking Austin, one highway and music club at a time

Nick Barbaro, Jan. 28, 2022

Public Notice: Giddy Optimism
Public Notice: Giddy Optimism
Omicron will save us, Part II

Nick Barbaro, Jan. 7, 2022

More Public Notice
Public Notice: The Two Sides of “More Housing”
Public Notice: The Two Sides of “More Housing”
“More at all costs,” or “more that’s not costly”?

Nick Barbaro, June 9, 2023

Public Notice: Housekeeping News
Public Notice: Housekeeping News
Plus trying to slow the Convention Center expansion, code changes

Nick Barbaro, June 2, 2023


Public Notice, Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT, Capital Express Central Plan, I-35, Austin Cap & Stitch Project

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle