East Fifth now goes two ways for a stretch; here’s why

Don’t freak out when you see on­com­ing traf­fic on East Fifth Street. City crews re­cently con­verted a stretch of the street, from Bra­zos Street to In­ter­state 35, to two-way. Here are five things to know about the change:

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE -

That seg­ment of East Fifth, once east­bound only, now has two east­bound lanes and one west­bound lane. The rest of Fifth, from Bra­zos to MoPac Boule­vard, re­mains east­bound only.

2. The goal is to im­prove traf­fic

Now driv­ers have an­other west­bound op­tion when East Sixth Street is closed for week­end rev­elry and other fes­tiv­i­ties.

3. And there’s an­other con­sid­er­a­tion

At some point in the not too dis­tant future, driv­ers will lose a sec­tion of the west­bound lane on East Fourth Street. Cap­i­tal Metro plans to ex­pand its down­town MetroRail station and cre­ate a

plaza be­tween Trin­ity and Red River streets, though no con­struc­tion date has been set.

4. Here’s the trade-off

By los­ing an east­bound lane, driv­ers on East Fifth will see a few sec­onds added to their af­ter­noon com­mute, a city traf­fic anal­y­sis found. The even­tual loss of the west­bound lane on East Fourth will set those driv­ers back about two min- utes, the study found. But adding the west­bound lane on East Fifth will dra­mat­i­cally re­duce, if not elim­i­nate, the down­town grid­lock that cur­rently hap­pens dur­ing East Sixth clo­sures, the anal­y­sis said.

5. What did the East Fifth con­ver­sion cost?

Fi­nal fig­ures weren’t avail­able Tues­day, but the City Coun­cil ap­proved up to $500,000 for the project back in May, a cost that in­cludes in­stalling new sig­nals, up­dat­ing signs and re-strip­ing the street, among other ex­penses.

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