CTRMA MoPac Improvement Project

Inspection and Construction Services for Installation of Managed Lanes and Sound Walls

Project Purpose

If you live in Austin, you know that getting from downtown to north Austin during rush hour is a challenge. As the primary alternative to I-35, MoPac (or Loop 1) carries over 180,000 vehicles per day, according to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA). Although MoPac experiences significant daily congestion, the corridor between downtown and RM 2222 had not been improved since 1975.

In response to this need, the CTRMA implemented the MoPac Improvement Project on an 11-mile stretch of MoPac (Loop 1) from Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin to Parmer Lane in north Austin. This project constructed one express toll lane in each direction as well as sound attenuation walls along the project corridor to reduce noise for residents living adjacent to the corridor. Performed under a design-build contract, the MoPac Improvement Project was a collaborative effort by the CTRMA, TxDOT, the City of Austin, and Capital Metro. The project also includes four miles of new sidewalk on the frontage roads and three miles of shared use paths. The overall objectives of the project are to help improve mobility, manage congestion, reduce travel times, and improve emergency response.

Project Approach

Contracted as a subconsultant, KFA assisted the CTRMA and General Engineering Consultant (GEC) oversight team with inspection and construction phase engineering support. We provided four Senior Inspectors dedicated to the project, including the Electrical & Instrumentation Inspector and a Document Controls Technician.

Specific tasks we performed included: reviewing drainage and utility design submittals, NDCs, and RFIs from the design-build contractor for conformance with the contract requirements and obligations; implementing the Utility Accommodation Policy; and tracking scheduled versus actual progress. Utility relocations along the project corridor included a 42-inch waterline crossing, overhead electric transmission and distribution, and multiple installations of fiber, gas, and telecom.

One challenge we faced was maintaining effective communication with the many parties involved: the prime consultant, TxDOT, utility companies, and the developer team. Providing Senior Inspectors who worked out of the project office and frequented the project site allowed us to stay abreast of important issues and communicate quickly as needs arose. We attended frequent meetings with the project team, providing thorough meeting minutes and effective document control to keep our tasks on track with the larger project schedule.

Providing design-build drainage and utility oversight services on the MoPac Improvement Project was a great way to be a part of a transformational project for the Austin area,” says Project Manager Charlotte Gilpin, PE, CFM. “The project involved challenging interdisciplinary coordination, and our team really rose to the challenge.

Charlotte Gilpin, PE, CFM, Project Manager

K Friese + Associates (KFA)

Project Results

The Mopac Improvement Project managed lanes opened to the traveling public in 2017.