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AM Update: Longhorn Network's Austin Debut, MoPac Enviro Study Complete, Roddick Retires

Mark Dewey for KUT News

Good morning and happy Friday. It may be a long weekend for many as Labor Day approaches.

It's Official: Longhorn Network on AT&T U-verse

University of Texas at Austin Women's Athletic Director Chris Plonsky confirms this morning that the Longhorn Network is now available for AT&T U-verse customers.

The Twittersphere is buzzing with the news that the LHN is now available on AT&T U-verse channel 1609.

In a report KUT News aired this morning, David Preschlack, ESPN’s head of affiliate relations said: “We’re doing everything that we can to get full distribution of the network. There’s nothing more important that I’m working on personally. And to me this is not an if, it’s a when, and we’re hopeful that we get there just as quickly as possible.”

That “when” finally sounds like "now" for local Longhorn fans.

Environmental Study for Managed MoPac Lanes Complete

As part of the $200 million MoPac Improvement Project, two express toll lanes are being added to either side of the congested freeway. And due to what the project’s bakers call an accelerated environmental study, construction is slated to begin next year.

The environmental study of the freeway, which passes over the Edwards Aquifer, recently concluded after a two-year process.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has coordinated with the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Austin and the Federal Highway Administration in the project, which will also add some seven miles of sound walls, bike and pedestrian improvements, landscaping improvements and more.

Next up: naming a firm to execute the entire project. Construction should be underway by mid-2013, with an end date of 2016.

Roddick Hanging Up His Tennis Racket

Austin-based professional tennis star Andy Roddick is hanging up his racket.

Roddick says he’ll retire after the US Open. Roddick made the announcement yesterday – on his 30th birthday. He released the following statement on his website:

“I’ll make this short and sweet: I’ve decided that this is going to be my last tournament. I just feel like it’s time. I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.”

Roddick went on to say he doesn’t know if he’s healthy or committed enough to continue playing. He says his decision became certain during the first round of the US Open – a tournament he won in 2003.

So what are Roddick’s plans after retiring? We do know that his foundation is opening a sports and learning center in East Austin to “mentor youths in character and discipline.”

Roddick alluded to his retirement in a previous statement about the sports and learning center, he said:

“I’ve surely realized that my tennis career won’t last forever. And the opportunity to create something positive and lasting in Austin is very important to me.”

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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