Program History

I-35 Capital Express Program

The I-35 Capital Express Program has been in development for many years. Although the current design process incorporates past feedback and analyses, the existing projects did not launch until 2019.

August 2020:

The Texas Transportation Commission adopted the 2021 Unified Transportation Plan (UTP), completing the funding allocation for the I-35 Capital Express Program. The UTP is TxDOT’s 10-year plan to guide transportation development for future construction projects and related activities.

April 2020:

The Texas Transportation Commission approves $3.4 billion in discretionary funds for the I-35 Capital Express Central project. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization also passes a resolution committing $633 million to the Central project. Learn more about the Central project.

August 2019:

The Texas Transportation Commission approves state and federal gas and sales tax money, including Texas Clear Lanes funding, for the new I-35 Capital Express North and South projects. Learn more about the North project. Learn more about the South project.

October 2017:

TxDOT began operating in a non-tolled environment.

2016-2017:

TxDOT hosts open house meetings and virtual open houses for the North, Central and South projects, which at the time were called North16, Central7 and South10. These projects collectively propose adding one tolled managed lane in each direction between RM 1431 and SH 45 Southeast as well as other improvements. The current I-35 Capital Express projects take into consideration concepts and feedback from the North16, Central7 and South10 projects.

2015-2016:

The Aesthetics Working Group, composed of nearly 20 agencies and organizations, and with input from a public survey, arrives at a Capital-themed concept for aesthetics on I-35 within the project area. View the I-35 Aesthetics Guidelines.

2014–2015:

TxDOT hosts five Decks Neighborhood Workshops for nearby neighborhood residents and University of Texas. The “decks area” is from Airport Boulevard to MLK Jr. Boulevard.

2014:

TxDOT evaluates the concept of adding one tolled managed lane in each direction of I-35 from SH 45 North to SH 45 Southeast.

2013-2014:

The Downtown Stakeholder Working Group, composed of public agencies and community stakeholders, convenes to evaluate concepts for I-35 in Central Austin and downtown. The group releases a report with recommendations in October 2014. View the Working Group Report. View the Working Group Report.

2013:

TxDOT releases the I-35 Capital Area Improvement Program Corridor Implementation Plan for Travis County, which identifies various improvements for I-35, including additional lane capacity. An updated plan is released in 2014.

2011:

The I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee releases the My35 Plan. The TxDOT Austin District, in coordination with the City of Austin and other partners, launches the Mobility35 program, also known as the I-35 Capital Area Improvement Program, which focuses on improvements to I-35 in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties. View the My35 Plan. Learn more about the history of the Mobility35 program.

2008:

The Texas Transportation Commission creates the I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee to increase citizen participation in the transportation planning process.

History of I-35

1973-74

The upper decks are constructed from Airport Boulevard to just south of Manor Road. This marks the last major expansion of I-35 in Austin.

 

Black and white photo of incomplete upper deck roadway.
Construction of the upper decks.

1962:

Interstate Highway 35 officially opens as a controlled-access, 6-lane interstate highway through downtown Austin, aligned on what was formerly known as East Avenue.

 

Crowd assembled around chairman at opening event.
March 29, 1962: Ribbon cutting ceremony for I-35.

 

Black and white photo of a line of people at the opening.
March 29, 1962: H.C. Petry cutting the ribbon of girls at the opening ceremony of I-35.

1960:

East Avenue as downtown freeway construction begins. Taken from the top of Brackenridge Hospital.

1960:

Black and white picture of a construction site before progress has been made.
Construction of I-35 in Austin near Brackenridge Hospital.

1958:

East Avenue, looking south from approximately Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

1956:

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 calls for the development of a 41,000 -mile interstate highway system and authorizes $25 billion to help built it.

1955:

View of Austin downtown skyline with I-35 as the main view.
I-35 at Riverside Drive.

1954:

Black and white phpoto of bridge spanning the Colorado River.
Construction of bridge across the Colorado River at Riverside Drive in Austin. It was built in 1954 as a bridge for U.S. Highway 81.

1950:

The construction of an overpass at 19th Street combined with widening projects in 1951 helped to convert East Avenue into what eventually became I-35.
The construction of an overpass at 19th Street combined with widening projects in 1951 helped to convert East Avenue into what eventually became I-35.

 

1933:

East Avenue, which later becomes I-35, is paved with landscaped median islands. The roadway was reported to also be referred to as Calle Ancha, or “the wide street,” in Spanish.

 

Looking north from 10th Street along a rough and hilly section of East Avenue, just prior to paving.
Looking north from 10th Street along a rough and hilly section of East Avenue, just prior to paving.

Learn more about more current improvement projects along I-35 at My35Construction.org.