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281-71 interchange to get $80M upgrade

U.S. 281-Texas 71 interchange in Marble Falls

The intersection at U.S. 281 and Texas 71 in Marble Falls is scheduled for an $80 upgrade from the Texas Department of Transportation sometime between 2028 and 2033. The money is part of a $142 billion transportation investment announced by Gov. Greg Abbott in mid-August. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

The U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection is due to receive $80 million for improvements out of a $142 billion transportation investment recently announced by Gov. Greg Abbott. The work is not due to begin until sometime between 2028 and 2033.

The record-breaking infrastructure investment is part of a 10-year statewide roadway construction plan from the Texas Department of Transportation. Of the $142 billion, $6.2 billion was set aside for the Austin area, including four projects on Texas 71.

The $80 million for the 281-71 overpass is for “grade-separated intersection improvements,” according to a TxDOT media statement.

“Grade-separated intersection means an intersection with a bridge,” explained TxDOT spokesperson Bradley Wheelis in an emailed response to questions from “It is currently a grade-separated intersection with a cloverleaf design.”

The project has yet to be developed, Wheelis continued. It must first go through an environmental and planning process to decide on a design. 

“The goal is to move traffic more efficiently and enhance safety at the interchange,” Wheelis said. “TxDOT is looking at future growth projections in the area and planning to redesign the interchange to accommodate that growth.”

Other work planned for Texas 71 is not in the Highland Lakes area. The other three projects are: 

  • $105.2 million to remove signals and build overpasses on Texas 71 at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road west of Bastrop;
  • $43.9 million to remove signals and build an overpass on Texas 71 at FM 1209 west of Bastrop and east of Austin;
  • and $31.2 million to extend frontage roads along Texas 71 from Riverside Drive to U.S. 183 near Austin-Bergstrom Airport in East Austin.

Some of the projects are roadway segments identified on Texas’ 100 Most Congested Roadways list. Projects are selected by TxDOT and local transportation leaders based on effectiveness in addressing safety, pavement condition, capacity, and rural connectivity and have opportunities for public input at both the state and local levels.