Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute are working to better integrate multilevel highway interchanges into their environment by introducing a new way of planning that uses the establishment or re-creation of natural ecosystems. The project site is the 110 acres (45 ha) surrounding the interchange of Loop 1 and U.S. 183 in Austin, Texas. Development plans for the site were based first on management and maintenance needs. Goals involved eliminating hand maintenance, preventing erosion on slopes, and improving the look and maintenance of the site's two detention ponds. The plan included the establishment of plant communities of assorted native plants. These groupings were planted in such a way that over time they would become self-sustaining areas of dense vegetation. Grass areas between the tree groupings and outside the safety-strip mow zone were managed to promote native prairie grasses, while using wildflowers and forbs to provide perennial color. The ponds were modified to slow water velocity and catch more silt. The lower pond was lined with patches of trees, and an island was created to provide additional tree cover, suggesting the presence of a winding creek. The elimination of mowing of the upper pond allowed denser vegetation growth that, in turn, aided filtration of the runoff. The implementation of the plan has resulted in an interchange that is now part of a sensitive balanced ecosystem. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, over 50 acres (20 ha) have been eliminated from routine maintenance.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Page Range: pp 2, 10
  • Corporate Authors:

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System, 1600 E Lamar Boulevard
    Arlington, TX  United States  76011
  • Authors:
    • Schutt, J
  • Publication Date: 1999-7


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: 2 p.
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00792399
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 22 2000 12:00AM