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Overnight lane closures on MoPac creating a new rush hour

A downtown worker says driving home on MoPac overnight is like afternoon rush hour as crews continue to close off lanes to finish up the project. (CBS Austin)

A downtown worker says driving home on MoPac overnight is like afternoon rush hour as crews continue to close off lanes to finish up the project.

The project was set to shut down all lanes of southbound MoPac early Thursday morning from midnight to 5 a.m. This is so crews could restripe and shift lanes over.

It’s work to let them start final paving in a couple weeks. Regional Mobility Authority’s Steve Pustelnyk said that would be a big milestone.

“It will probably with some of the traffic flow as we get some of the barrels out and people have fresh clean striping and a brand new roadway to drive on,” Pustelnyk said.

However, the overnight closures are a big headache for some drivers. Especially for Madison Hanusa who works at Cover 3 sports bar in downtown Austin.

“At night it’s just the biggest pain,” Hanusa said.

Hanusa typically gets off work around 10:30 p.m. and she says even at that time cars are backed up beyond the on-ramp to the highway.

“It goes down to one lane and there’s stop and go traffic at 11 o clock at night and it’s awful, it takes me like 45 minutes to get home,” Hanusa said.

It’s really frustrating for her because when she got the job she thought her commute home to north Austin would be a breeze.

“I was like I will be able to just cruise on home and it’s nothing like that at all, it’s worse almost that late at night than it is at 5 o clock,” she said.

Pustelnyk said those northbound lane closures will continue until the end of summer. He says they’re making progress there and could start paving there in the next couple weeks as well.

He also said there’s no clear date for a final completion of all express lanes.

“At this point we’re not ready to commit to a full opening with a time frame but we are making significant progress and would expect all express lanes will be open sometime this year,” Pustelnyk said.

Hanusa, though, says she’s not really paying attention to any timelines anymore. She’s just grunting through her new overnight rush hour.

“It’s horrendous and I wish they would just kind of figure out because people use that every single day,” Hanusa said.

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