Balfour Beatty nears completion of Travis County tollway
By Riley SimpsonJanuary 06, 2021
Central Texas will officially open a new three-lane, 8-mile tollway this year in Q1.
Balfour Beatty, working as part of the Colorado River Constructors (CRC) joint venture team, have already opened a majority of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s new US 183 South, a tolled expressway in Travis County near Austin.
Although stretches of US 183 South, which lies between US 290 to the north and SH 71 to the south, are still undergoing repaving, drainage, guardrail and other work, 95 percent of the tollway was open to public traffic as of October 2020.
John Rempe, president and chief executive officer of Balfour Beatty’s US civils operations, said opening the tollway to that capacity was “a true testament of our project team’s many accomplishments.”
The new expressway will achieve substantial completion in a matter of weeks and will improve mobility for more than 60,000 travelers per day, according to Balfour Beatty. US 183 South will also serve as a primary route to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Rempe said that Balfour Beatty crews surpassed 2.5 million hours worked (without a lost time incident) while maintaining the project’s cost and schedule, as well as the Mobility Authority’s and the community’s goals of environmental preservation and sustainability.
The expressway’s features five grade-separated interchanges, 37 new bridges, direct connect flyover ramps, intelligent traffic management systems, landscaping enhancements and multimodal transportation options for pedestrian and bicyclist facilities.
In fall 2019, the Mobility Authority opened the northern part of the new tollway, from US 290 to Techni Center Drive, as part of the project’s first phase. The final phase, opening the remaining toll lanes and general-purpose lanes to public traffic is expected to reaching substantial completion for the southern half of US 183 South from Techni Center Drive to SH 71, in Q1.
According to CRC, workers paved more than 100 lane miles of concrete, which included 1.1 million square yards of pavement, 400,000 cubic yards of concrete and nearly 50 million lbs of reinforcing steel.
The project required the CRC to execute at least 82 design changes to connect roadways – including approximately 35 cross streets, five major intersections, one railway and two major interstates and highways – to the US 183 South corridor.
Construction crews safely maintained increased traffic flow due to newly added lanes, ramps and connectors to the other major interstates and highways over the Colorado River and near downtown Austin.
Two more bridge spans and arches culverts were built on US 183 South to convey hydraulic flow on the corridor. Located at the westbound overpass bridge of SH 71, the bridge system consists of 42 precast, 12.5-foot-tall arches (weighing approximately 62,000 lbs per arch) that are approximately 45 feet long out to out.