The 183 South Expressway project involves the expansion of an eight-mile (12.8km) long four-lane corridor between the US 290 and SH 71 into a six-lane expressway. The expanded section of the US 183 will have tolled and non-tolled lanes along with bicycles and pedestrian facilities.

The expressway will improve reliability, safety and mobility of the existing highway, which currently carries more than 60,000 vehicles a day.

Being upgraded by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority), the corridor also serves as the primary route to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The ground-breaking ceremony of the $743m expressway project was held in April 2016. The construction will be completed in two phases in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

183 South Expressway background

The US 183 corridor is a four-lane divided highway constructed in mid-1960s and has undergone minor upgrades since its opening. The need for improvements on the corridor has long been recognised as it faces severe congestion during peak times.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Mobility Authority introduced a new environmental study in 2011 for improving the mobility on the section between US 290 and SH 71.

The environmental study was approved in March 2015 and the project construction contract was awarded in May 2015.

“The need for improvements on the corridor has long been recognised as it faces severe congestion during peak times.”

The expressway project reached the first milestone in April 2018, with the completion of new northbound general-purpose lanes between 51st Street and Manor/Springdale Road.

183 South Expressway project details

The 183 Expressway project is being implemented in phases. Phase one includes improvements between US 290/290 Toll and north of Bolm Road, while phase two involves improvements between Technicenter Drive and SH 71.

The expressway will include three tolled lanes and three non-tolled general purpose lanes in each direction. It will also feature bicycle lanes, sidewalks and shared use paths to improve bicycle and pedestrian commutation.

The 183 corridor will also witness aesthetic and landscaping enhancements to improve the overall visual appearance. It will be installed with high-tech traffic monitoring system for improving the traffic management and incident response.

The existing overpasses at Springdale Road, MLK Jr. Boulevard, Montopolis Drive and Airport Boulevard will be rebuilt to increase capacity. A non-signalised U-turn will be built at the Patton Avenue to improve access to local communities.

New flyover ramps will be built between US 183 and SH 71 to reduce journey times. A trailhead will be constructed at the Colorado River, while the existing Montopolis steel truss bridge on the Colorado River will be converted into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge.

The expressway will feature 16 miles (25.7km) of bicycle lanes, seven miles (11.2km) of sidewalks and ten miles (16km) of shared use paths. The facilities will be connected to the regional trail system, including the Lance Armstrong Trail, the Walnut Creek Trail, and the 290 Toll shared use path.

183 South Expressway enhancements

The new corridor will feature enhanced landscape with special neighbourhood-specific tree species, which provide a unique focal point for entrances in the vicinity.

Community connections will be improved with the wayfinding signs, exercise areas near existing trails, lighting, shade and seating along the shared use path.

The bridge and retaining walls along the US 183 corridor will feature unique and attractive design elements, which will promote regional identity.

Financing

The expressway project is being jointly funded through toll revenue bonds, government loans and government grants. The Mobility Authority issued toll revenue bonds worth $252.2m, whereas the US Federal Government provided a $282.2m loan.

The TDOT provided a $60m loan and a one-time grant of $146.3m to support the non-tolled facilities of the project.

Contractors involved with 183 South Expressway project

In May 2015, the Mobility Authority awarded the $581m four-year design-build expressway contract to Colorado River Constructors (CRC), which is a joint venture of Fluor Corporation and Balfour Beatty Construction.