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City of Austin News Release RE: Council Approves funding for I-35 Makeover Project between E. 8th and E. 6th

April 29, 2010
Contact: Andy Moore, Office of Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez, (512) 974-2264

Council approves funding for I-35 Makeover Project between E. 8th and E. 6th.

The IH-35 Makeover Project will reconstruct the parking areas under the highway to enhance the safety, comfort, and aesthetics of the area and create an attractive gateway reconnecting downtown to East Austin.

This project is a result of a grassroots effort which started in 2004 by The Makeover Coalition made up of a diverse group of citizens, businesses, and neighborhood leaders formed to help transform this area into a public asset.

City Council approved two funding sources for this project. They first approved a resolution in March, 2005 explicitly supporting the use of parking revenue from the City-managed IH-35 parking lots for the IH-35 Makeover Project. In March of 2007, City Council passed a resolution setting aside $1.5 million to be provided by the future issuance of non-tax supported certificates of obligation.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez said, “I am excited to see this project get underway. I can’t say enough about the efforts of The Makeover Coalition to drive this effort. It’s another example of the dedication of our citizens coming up with ways to improve our city.”

“The interstate has divided our city for too long. The work of the IH 35 Makeover is to start bridging east and west Austin and begin unifying our community,” said CM Cole. “I am proud to see this effort finally under construction.”

““A big thanks goes out to everyone involved in this process. Our community group, Council, Cotera+Reed Architects, TXDoT and City Staff all worked together to transform and activate this space” said Larry Warshaw, Chair of the I35 Makeover Coalition that has been advocating for the project.”

The Makeover Coalition provided the support necessary to improve this connection between downtown and the east of Austin. The coalition obtained a grant of $250,000 from Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB) to help fund the landscape portion.

The lighting project will be done through the City’s Art in Public Places Program and will be programmed LED lights in arches over the parking lots.  A computer-generated illumination will create a show as well as create safe lighting.

This area was a broad boulevard called Eastside Drive until postwar era, when IH-35 was built over it in a series of elevated and buried sections.

The project is expected to start in June and take approximately seven months, at which time TXDot will begin the landscape improvements funded through the KAB grant.