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The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

I-35 Will Be Closed This Weekend At US 290/SH 71

View US 290 & I-35 Shutdown Fri-Sun in a larger map

Give yourself extra time this weekend if you plan to drive on Interstate 35 near Ben White. The Texas Department of Transportation is closing a stretch of the highway from Friday night until Monday morning to conduct work on ramps linking I-35 with US 290/SH 71.  Traffic will be diverted along the frontage roads.

The map above shows how traffic will be affected. Red lines are closures. Blue lines are closed to through traffic, important to know if you're trying to plan a route around the traffic mess.

Southbound lanes are scheduled to close around 10 pm on Friday.  Northbound lanes will close at 1 am Friday. Everything is supposed to reopen before 5 am on Monday morning.

Here's a more detailed explanation from the city's website.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says the southbound lanes will be detoured to the access road at the Woodward St exit (# 231) beginning at 10:00 PM Friday. The northbound closures are expected to begin three hours later, at approximately 1:00 AM Saturday. Northbound traffic will detour to the access road on a temporary ramp constructed north of the US 290/SH 71 exit (#230). Southbound traffic wishing to reach eastbound Ben White Fwy will turn around at Stassney Ln and return on the northbound access road. Northbound traffic wanting to go to westbound Ben White will turn around at Oltorf St and return on the southbound access. According to TxDOT, the southbound lanes should reopen early Sunday morning and all traffic restored to normal by 5:00 AM Monday.

The contractor, SEMA Construction, will be installing steel beams over the highway. The $26 million project isn't slated to be completed until September 2011, but TxDOT says the project is running ahead of schedule.

Thistimeline from TxDOT shows how work will progress.  TxDOT is also updating the project's status with photographs on this page.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.