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Sidewalks Reopen Under I-35 In Time For SXSW Crowds

i35 project.JPG
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News
Construction gates have been removed on the final portion of the renovation under I-35 downtown, but one parking lot is still closed to vehicles.

Construction gates have been removed on a project to renovate the parking lot under Interstate 35 in downtown Austin, allowing people to walk freely on the expanded sidewalks. For the past several months, pedestrians walking under I-35 were restricted to a narrow pathway next to fast moving traffic. That could have created a dangerous situation for the thousands of people descending on the city for SXSW.

Last year, the City of Austin announced it was embarking on a $2 million renovation underneath a stretch of I-35 running from E. 8th St. to E. 6th St. The project was done with help from Keep Austin Beautiful and the Texas Department of Transportation, which will next install benches and native Texas plants. Cotera-Reed Architects designed the project.

The most remarkable change has been the addition of fourteen lighting fixtures that glow purple at night and illuminate the parking lot. Some people have described them as whale or dinosaur bones, but a common local term for the art installation has yet to stick.

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