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Get ready for six months of backups on South Lamar Boulevard

Starting Sunday, portions of South Lamar will be reduced to allow Austin Energy to replace utility poles and increase energy capacity in the area. The work is expected to last six months.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
Starting Sunday, portions of South Lamar will be reduced to allow Austin Energy to replace utility poles and upgrade wires. The work is expected to last six months.

Drivers on South Lamar Boulevard should prepare for months of backups and bottlenecks as Austin Energy embarks on a six-month plan to replace utility poles and upgrade wires along a stretch of the corridor.

The "reconductoring" project will cause portions of South Lamar’s northbound traffic to be reduced to one lane for most of the duration of the project. Southbound traffic will also experience occasional delays.

The first phase from West Mary to West Oltorf streets will begin Sunday. The second phase will stretch from West Mary to Treadwell Street, and phase three will extend from Treadwell to Barton Springs Road.

Each phase is expected to last two months, best case scenario. Thomas Whiteaker, a major projects lead designer for Austin Energy, said weather could also prompt delays.

“Traffic will certainly be impeded,” he said.

A map showing three phases of construction on South Lamar Boulevard.
Capital Delivery Services
Austin Energy will begin its reconductoring project on South Lamar Boulevard on July 7. Construction will be carried out over three phases, each lasting about two months.

During each phase, the right lane going northbound will be closed and traffic will be shifted to the left. Pedestrian and cyclist traffic will be merged together to an enclosed area; bikers will be asked to walk while they share the lane.

Capital Metro officials said bus stops along the project area will be closed during active construction.

Construction will take place weekdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The traffic jams will be annoying, but Whiteaker said it's for an important cause.

All the utility poles will be changed out and all overhead telecommunication wires will be replaced with larger ones that will increase energy capacity.

“Our existing infrastructure can only handle so much capacity,” he said. “On South Lamar, there’s a lot of construction that's happening. A lot of development that's growing much taller, much larger, and this is driving the need for additional load within the circuit that's feeding that area.”

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