The 183 North Mobility Project is being constructed by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) to improve safety, optimize system connectivity and enhance local mobility along the US 183 corridor. The new $612 million project extends 9 miles from SH 45 North to MoPac in northwest Austin and will reduce travel times and improve mobility for commuters, local drivers, visitors to the region, and people who prefer to use public transit, ride their bike or walk. The project includes:
Two tolled express lanes in each direction
An improved non-tolled US 183 with four general-purpose lanes in each direction (adding the fourth general-purpose lane in areas where only three currently exist)
Express lane direct connectors will be constructed with the MoPac Express Lanes south of US 183
Operational improvements along MoPac with a collector-distributor road from the direct connectors to the southbound MoPac frontage road until Far West Blvd.
A high-tech traffic monitoring system for improved traffic management and emergency response
The project will add approximately 1.5 miles of new bike lanes along the major streets crossing US 183 and approximately a half mile of new shared use path. These additions will provide much-needed connections and close existing gaps, ensuring a network of continuous bike lanes between SH 45 North and MoPac. The project will also add or reconstruct, where needed, approximately 11 miles of sidewalks along the US 183 corridor to ensure compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
Upgrades to the visual appearance of the corridor through aesthetic enhancements and landscaping improvements
The 183 North Mobility Project was developed in coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Constructed in 1996 as a four-to-six lane divided highway, the section of US 183 between SH 45 North and MoPac attracts up to 190,000 cars and trucks per day and is the 69th most congested roadway in Texas. Populations in communities along this corridor grew between 70% in the City of Austin to 848% in the City of Cedar Park between 1990 and 2010 (US Census, 1990-2010). As residential, retail and commercial growth continues in the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Liberty Hill north of the corridor, it is anticipated that congestion will worsen, and mobility will be further reduced.
The corridor provides access to downtown Austin, as well as businesses, major employment centers, religious institutions, schools, parks and trails, recreational centers, and residential areas, all of which would benefit from a reduction in congestion and reliable travel times for transit and emergency responders.
Seton Northwest Hospital, Concentra Urgent Care and numerous health care facilities are located along the US 183 corridor. The existing traffic congestion and mobility issues can create delays for emergency response vehicles.
Because of traffic congestion, Capital Metro’s Express Bus route frequencies are significantly reduced during peak periods as compared to off-peak periods.
The 183 North Mobility Project will:
Facilitate congestion management in the corridor
Provide a reliable route for transit
Facilitate reliable emergency response
The total project cost is approximately $612 million.
In January 2019, the Texas Transportation Commission approved $104.2 million in federal funding for the non-tolled portion of the roadway. The remainder of the project will be financed by the Mobility Authority using available and flexible funding mechanisms such as the sale of toll revenue bonds and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funds.
The 183 North Mobility Project primarily involves expansion of the existing freeway with limited impacts to the frontage roads and the adjacent businesses. The Mobility Authority expects very little, if any, right-of-way acquisition will be necessary. However, easements for construction and utility relocation could be needed. Right-of-way acquisition and easement acquisition determinations (where needed) will be finalized at the end of the project’s final design phase.
Absolutely. The environmental study, approved in April 2016, assessed the direct and indirect impacts of the proposed transportation improvements to the human and natural environment.
On average, drivers and transit users in the express lanes can expect a reliable nine-minute commute during morning and afternoon peak periods in 2035.
Drivers using the general-purpose lanes can expect their morning commute to be 24 minutes faster and afternoon commutes to be 16 minutes faster than their commutes would be if no improvements are constructed.
No, there will be no change in the number of traffic signals upon completion of construction.
The Mobility Authority is committed to prioritizing landscape preservation wherever possible. Any landscaping that is in the path of new construction will be replaced with new plantings within the project limits where space is available to safely do so.
The 183 North Express Lanes, the non-tolled general-purpose lanes, and all bicycle and pedestrian facilities will have a concrete surface. To reduce noise from traffic along both the express lanes and general-purpose lanes, the 183 North Mobility Project will utilize Next-Generation Concrete Surface, a pavement texture treatment designed to reduce traffic noise, while providing safe tire traction. According to TxDOT, “the surface is the quietest and smoothest concrete pavement surface measured to date while providing desirable friction characteristics.” The innovative use of this technique marks the first time Next-Generation Concrete Surfacing will be utilized on a roadway project in Austin.
Yes. The express lanes include a direct connection to MoPac on the south end of the project. In addition, the project includes operational improvements along MoPac with a collector-distributor road from the direct connectors to the southbound MoPac frontage road until Far West Blvd. 183A traffic will flow seamlessly onto the 183 North general purpose and express lanes. Take a closer look using the project maps.
The corridor is heavily populated with businesses, retail and neighborhoods, and the right-of-way available for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is highly constrained by existing utilities, walls, driveways, steep slopes and drainage features.
Despite these obstacles, the Mobility Authority will provide safe connectivity for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the corridor, closing existing gaps to provide a network of continuous bike lanes available to cyclists traveling between SH 45 North and MoPac. These improvements include:
An 8-foot wide Shared Use Path to connect the Jollyville Road bike lanes to the bike lanes on Pond Springs, a distance of approximately 1,600 feet.
An 8-foot wide Shared Use Path from bike lanes on Pond Springs to the bike lanes on Lake Creek Parkway adjacent to the US 183 northbound frontage road, a distance of approximately 2,600 feet.
Sidewalks along the US 183 northbound and southbound frontage roads from RM 620/SH 45 North to Loop 360 in locations where sidewalks do not currently exist.
Cross street connections for bicyclists consisting of bike lanes in each direction, created by re-striping the existing cross street pavement. The Mobility Authority's total investment in bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in the region total $47 million to-date, including their projects that are open to traffic and under construction.
No. A noise study was conducted in association with the 183 North Mobility Project as part of the environmental process. Every construction project must follow state and federal guidelines related to noise. The study considered both current and future traffic levels on 183 North, as well as safety concerns, engineering feasibility and effectiveness of noise mitigation efforts. A noise barrier, usually a sound wall, is proposed for an area when it is impacted by a noise increase to a certain level. Then a proposed sound wall is analyzed to determine if it is feasible and reasonable. Feasibility refers to the sound wall’s ability to effectively reduce noise. Reasonableness refers to the cost-effectiveness of the sound wall. The guidelines require sound walls to be both reasonable and feasible to be built. The noise barrier analysis conducted for the 183 North Mobility Project found 14 impacted areas where sound walls should be considered. After analysis, none of the proposed sound walls were found to be both feasible and reasonable and are therefore not permitted under the guidelines.
Take a look at an infographic to learn more about the process on 183 North to determine noise abatement.
No. Use of the 183 North Express toll lanes will be optional. The Mobility Authority is also reconstructing the non-tolled US 183 general-purpose lanes, and in some areas of the corridor adding additional lanes to create four continuous general-purpose lanes in each direction where only three exist today. Drivers will always have the option to use these non-tolled general-purpose lanes.
For more information, questions or concerns you can call the project hotline at (866) 223-8044 or visit the website at www.183North.com. You can also sign-up for the e-newsletter or schedule a presentation with the project team for your organization or group.
Construction is projected to last around four and a half years with a target completion in early 2026.
To finish the project on schedule, construction may occur 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. However, in interest of the public and maximizing mobility during construction, the contractor will face financial penalties imposed by the Mobility Authority if a lane closure occurs outside of approved time frames, such as in peak travel times like daytime a.m. and p.m. rush hour. In order to minimize noise from construction activities, the project team will follow a set of guidelines designed to preserve quality of life for adjacent neighborhoods. The contractor has a dedicated manager in charge of all noise mitigation efforts who will oversee the operation of a 24-hour, bilingual hotline (which is (866) 223-8044) to monitor and address all public inquiries. Public concerns will be addressed in a timely manner by reviewing work procedures and shifting work schedules where appropriate to lessen the duration of intrusive noise. To ensure that noise levels are not overly disruptive to the community, environmental inspectors will monitor the project and enforce reasonable noise levels.
The Mobility Authority and the entire project team are committed to being a good neighbor to residents along the 183 North corridor. While constructing a project of this size will include some temporary lane closures, we want to minimize the inconvenience as much as possible. As such, the Mobility Authority has incentivized the contractor to plan US 183 mainlane closures during off-peak times when possible, and to complete most traffic-impacting activities at night. Our intention is for the majority of traffic-impacting activities to occur during the following off-peak times, whenever possible:
Sunday Morning: 12:00 Midnight to 8:00 a.m.
Sunday Evening: 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 Midnight
Monday-Friday Morning: 12:00 Midnight to 5:00 a.m.
Monday-Friday Evening: 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 Midnight
Saturday Morning: 12:00 Midnight to 8:00 a.m.
Saturday Evening: 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 Midnight
In most cases, daytime work will be focused on construction activities outside the immediate roadway. While it is our goal to limit lane reductions as much as possible, frontage road lane reductions may occur for an extended period of time for crews to construct the non-tolled general-purpose lanes. In most circumstances, work occurring on holidays or during special local events will be limited to activities that do not impact traffic. Lane closures on major holidays or during local events that draw large crowds to the city will be avoided when possible and will require special permission by the Mobility Authority and TxDOT.
Safety is our priority and incident response will be addressed expeditiously, with assistance from public safety officials as needed. During temporary closures that are anticipated to have a significant impact or cause extended travel time delays, law enforcement officers will be present.
The Mobility Authority is committed to ensuring local residents are fully informed about construction work and drivers are kept up to speed on potential travel delays. There are three ways you can be alerted to construction activity and lane closures:
The 183 North Mobility Project adheres to the National Environmental Policy Act which requires, to the fullest extent possible, that the policies, regulations and laws of the Federal Government (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, etc.) be interpreted and administered in accordance with its environmental protection goals.
Additionally, the 183 North Mobility Project limits the proposed improvements to within the existing right-of-way, with the exception of drainage easements and existing retention ponds. This restriction means that impacts to waters of the U.S., threatened/endangered species habitats, residential/commercial developments, community cohesion, and historic/archeological resources will be reduced or avoided.
Drainage easements and existing retention ponds may need to be constructed outside the existing right-of-way in order to accomplish the removal of 80% of the Total Suspended Solids (TSS) for the project, as required by the Edwards Aquifer Rules administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Temporary erosion and sedimentation controls will be in place throughout the construction process based on Edwards Aquifer Rules and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan requirements of the TCEQ.
Because the 183 North Mobility Project area is located over the Recharge Zone, the removal of a minimum of 80% of the increase in TSS for the entire corridor will be required, in compliance with the Edward's Aquifer Rules that are administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). These standards reduce effects to endangered species that are aquifer dependent, such as the Jollyville Plateau salamander, as well as endangered karst-dependent species that may occur near the project area.
The Mobility Authority and TxDOT will work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and others to utilize a comprehensive water quality protection plan incorporating Best Management Practices because the project area is within TCEQ's regulated Recharge Zone. As part of the water quality protection plan development, measures will be taken to attain a minimum of 80% Total Suspended Solids (TSS) removal required by the regulations within consideration for protection of endangered or threatened species, including karst invertebrates and the Jollyville Plateau salamander. Increased TSS removal reduces effects to endangered species that depend on the aquifer for habitat. Karst features are present in many areas of the Recharge Zone, and TSS removal also reduces effects to endangered species that depend on the karst features for habitat. The threatened and endangered species protection issues are being coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others.
The following measures are being implemented to treat the new impervious cover associated with the 183 North Mobility Project by slowing runoff so that TSS and associated pollutants will settle out and be removed from stormwater volumes before entering local streams and waterways outside of the right-of-way:
Extended detention - similar to normal detention except that the retention time is increased to allow particulate pollutants to settle out of stormwater. This measure is currently in use at the SH 45 North/US 183 intersection for some areas.
Biofiltration - a variant of Sedimentation/Filtration where the sand filter is replaced by biofiltration media and associated plants.
Bioretention and Vegetated Bioretention - swales that use plant and soil media to filter and treat stormwater through physical, biological, and chemical treatment processes.
Sedimentation/Filtration - involves detaining stormwater to allow settling followed by sand filtration and is the primary control measure used currently throughout the project area.
Vegetative Measures – surface filtration through various types of plant species. The species will be coordinated with biological experts.
Underground sedimentation/filtration vaults – rectangular and mostly hollow structures that function in a similar way to ponds by storing water to allow for sedimentation and filtration of pollutants in stormwater as defined above. Vaults are placed underground when land for ponds is not available. Currently in-use within the corridor and may be needed in areas where space is constrained.
The 183 North Mobility Project team is implementing the following Best Management Practices to protect the Edwards Aquifer and other groundwater resources:
Expanding and enhancing existing water quality ponds
Expanding existing water quality vaults
Enhancements to detention ponds
Additional water quality ponds
Enhanced spill controls
Under a design-build approach the contractor is responsible for both producing the roadway design and constructing the project. The design-build delivery method can improve efficiencies, reduce costs and provide a timelier project completion.
Express lanes are special tolled lanes that are separated from the general-purpose lanes and designed to keep traffic free flowing. They utilize variable toll pricing to manage the amount of traffic in the lanes. Public transit buses, emergency responders, Capital Metro registered carpools and vanpools, MetroAccess vehicles and state and federal military vehicles may always use the express lanes without paying a toll. The same number of non-tolled general-purpose lanes that exist today will remain.
The 183 North Mobility Project will manage the number of cars in the express lanes at any given time using variable toll pricing. When traffic is heavy in the express lanes, demand is high and toll rates increase. When demand is low, toll rates decrease. Higher rates control congestion by discouraging drivers from entering the express lanes and ensures a reliable trip for transit, emergency services vehicles and drivers, when they really need it. Changeable electronic signs display the current rates in real time, so you’ll know the price before you decide whether to enter the lanes. Once you are in the lanes, the price you saw is the price you’ll pay.
Central Texas does not receive enough funding from federal and state taxes to pay for all of the transportation improvements that are needed. Tolling entities like the Mobility Authority have the flexibility to fund needed infrastructure improvements by borrowing money to build the facilities and then using the revenue from tolls to repay those loans. Tolling is a user-based fee, similar to fees charged for the use of other public facilities such as parking garages, public buses and recreational facilities. User fees differ from taxes, because you have the choice whether or not to use the toll facility, and you receive a specific service in exchange for paying the toll. Taxes are not optional. Drivers have the option to take a toll road and pay the toll, or avoid tolls by taking alternate routes, whereas taxes are mandatory and charged to everyone. Learn more about the Mobility Authority and tolling here.
Even if funding was available to construct non-tolled lanes, latent traffic demand would quickly fill these lanes, and they would become congested like the existing general-purpose lanes on US 183. Simply adding capacity will not facilitate congestion management or reliability over the long term. Although added capacity may initially decrease congestion, drivers who would normally use other routes or modes of transportation migrate to fill the newly added capacity, quickly degrading the level of service within the corridor to, or close to, pre-construction levels.
Many agencies avoid, if possible, providing only one lane in each direction, for several reasons.
Reliability: Constructing only one lane in each direction makes it more likely that drivers who use the project will experience disruptions in reliability. Minor incidents, even a flat tire, could easily disrupt the flow of traffic and speed in the express lane. Additionally, drivers who choose to travel at slow speeds in the express lane would impact the travel time reliability of all trailing vehicles.
Incident management: Constructing two lanes in each direction provides the additional capacity needed to enable a faster and easier response to incidents in the corridor.
Access: With two lanes in each direction, one is available to support entering and exiting traffic and one lane can support through traffic. A project with only one lane in each direction is much more likely to experience disruptions in the traffic flow.
Tolls will be collected electronically from drivers with an electronic tag. The Mobility Authority currently accepts TxDOT’s TxTAG, NTTA’s TollTag, HCTRA’s EZ TAG, Kansas Turnpike Authority's K-Tag, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Pikepass and BancPass/PlusPass. Drivers who don’t have a tag account will still be able to use the tolled lanes and will be billed through the Mobility Authority’s Pay By Mail program. Cameras will capture a photo of the vehicle’s license plate and a toll bill will be mailed to the owner. Drivers who pay with an electronic tag receive a toll discount of 33 percent.
On the toll roads operated by the Mobility Authority, tolls are waived under state law for:
State and federal military vehicles
Public transit buses
Capital Metro registered vanpools
Yes. The Board Members and staff of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority honor and appreciate the service of the men and woman of our military forces, past and present.
As of November 1, 2018, the Mobility Authority does offer a discounted toll program to Congressional Medal of Honor, Legion of Valor, and Purple Heart recipients as well as disabled veterans who qualify and meet the requirements for specialty license plates. This program applies to all Mobility Authority roads with the exception of the MoPac Express Lane and the upcoming 183 North Express Lanes.
To be eligible to participate in the Qualified Veteran Discount Program, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority requires that, at the time of the transaction, the vehicle be compliant with the following:
Standard registration with the State of Texas, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles;
Issued a qualifying specialty plate and have it properly displayed;
Associated to an electronic tag account with the electronic tag properly displayed on the windshield; and
Have no outstanding Mobility Authority toll violations.
The following tags are accepted for our program: TxTag, TollTag, EZ Tag, K-Tag, Pikepass, or BancPass.
Program participation is limited to one (1) vehicle per veteran and does not apply to the MoPac Express Lane or the 183 North Express Lanes. Tolls incurred prior to successful registration in our program must be fully resolved to be eligible for participation in the discount program.