News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

WATCH: Newly built flyover in Austin gives drivers a surprise dip

 The dip in the ramp is right above a column and is followed by a dark patch on the concrete.
Nathan Bernier
/
KUT
The dip in the ramp is right above a column and is followed by a dark patch on the concrete.

A flyover ramp in Austin that was partially destroyed for being too steep has a new flaw: a small dip in the ramp 50 feet above ground where vehicles travel from I-35 northbound to U.S. 183 northbound.

"It feels a little bit out of place being that far up in the air and then bouncing down on the road like that," said John Powers, who uses the flyover along with thousands of other drivers on a typical weekday.

"It's safe. There's no structural issue whatsoever," Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Bradley Wheelis said "If you're traveling at a proper speed ... there's no danger to your vehicle."

 Vehicles bounce slightly as they drive over a dip on the newly constructed flyover.
Nathan Bernier
/
KUT
Vehicles bounce slightly as they drive over a dip on the newly constructed flyover.

Speed limit signs haven't been posted on the flyover yet, but the prior speed limit was 45 miles per hour.

TxDOT engineers haven’t figured out the cause of the imperfection in the roadway, although they plan to investigate some theories early next year. They are considering a range of fixes, including filling the dip with asphalt. Another idea involves raising parts of the structure to eliminate the dip.

 A TxDOT schematic with a red circle (added by KUT) showing where the dip on the road surface is located.
TxDOT
/
A TxDOT schematic with a red circle (added by KUT) showing where the dip on the road surface is located.

The underlying challenge, TxDOT says, is that reconstructing just part of a flyover — as opposed to starting over from scratch — leaves almost no room for error when aligning large concrete beams and pillars that weigh thousands of pounds.

"We chose this method because we knew we could get it done in a matter of a few months as opposed to a year or longer," Wheelis said. The flyover was closed from April to September, and the detour to Rundberg Lane and back was 3 miles.

 The dip on the flyover is near the seam in the spans and is followed by a dark patch on the concrete.
Nathan Bernier
/
KUT
The dip on the flyover is near the seam in the spans and is followed by a dark patch on the concrete.

TxDOT said it needed to reconstruct the ramp because the old one was too steep and slowed large trucks, causing traffic to back up onto the freeway.

A large portion of the ramp was destroyed in a pair of dramatic implosions over two weekends in May. KUT caught the first blast on video.

The flyover reconstruction is part of a $124.2 million TxDOT project along I-35 from Rundberg Lane to 290 East. Contractor J.D. Abrams added three new flyovers, reconstructed the St. John's Avenue Bridge and made other changes, some of which are still being worked on.

The project is scheduled to be completed next year.
Copyright 2021 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008.