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Plan would sink I-35 below ground

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In order to relieve congestion on I35, TxDOT is exploring possible improvements to mobility on I35 at key points, including between MLK and Lady Bird Lake. Proposed plans being considered include a fully elevated highway and a sunken highway. Another solution known as "cut & cap" has been proposed by architect Sinclair Black. That idea involves sinking I35 and covering it with a continuous cap.

Tuesday, Austin city council members discussed the "cut & cap" plan.

"It's in very close proximity to Waller Creek. With that project going forward, it could play a role in enhancing development around Waller Creek," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

The cut and cap plan would essentially connect East Austin to downtown, the way the city was before I35 was built. That's one reason why Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Cole and council member Chris Riley support the idea.

However, many questions remain.

Council member Mike Martinez asked "What happens to existing property owners and single family residents that still exist along I35 on eastern side that are of lower income or moderate income?"

Leffingwell wondered, "What happens to traffic when this is under construction?"

He wants to make sure whatever plan is implemented will achieve the goal of reconstructing I35.

"We've got to keep in mind that our number one objective is to get some kind of congestion relief on I35 and that needs to be an expedited process."

Thursday, Austin City Council members will consider a resolution to support further exploring the cut & cap option.

Click here to find out more about the plan:

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