Austin has pulled in a $105 million grant to help mitigate the effects of the impending expansion of I-35 through the central city. The U.S. Transportation Department awarded the grant through its Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, city officials announced Monday.

The city will use $105.2 million capital construction grant to build a 5.3-acre freeway cap over I-35 between East Cesar Chavez and East Fourth streets as part of Our Future 35: Austin’s Cap and Stitch Program.

The initiative aims to construct caps and stitches, otherwise known as platforms or lids, over portions of I-35 in central Austin when the Texas Department of Transportation widens the highway as part of its Capital Express Central Project. 

The cap-and-stitch project will provide an "opportunity to change the landscape of central Austin by building public space and amenities that celebrate and connect all Austinites," according to a press release. 

Officials had identified the proposed freeway cap location as a strong candidate project in hopes of restoring the downtown-East Cesar Chavez neighborhood that was destroyed when the highway was built — underlining a separation already in place due to segregation laws the city enacted in 1928.

Plans for the cap potentially include an uninterrupted walking and biking corridor that requires no frontage road crossings at Third Street.

The city will contribute a $45 million in matching funds and will coordinate with TxDOT on the design and engineering of the cap structure.  Officials plan a "robust" public process to determine what will go on top of the completed cap and what it will look like.

The city continues to look for ways to fund other caps and stitches along the expanded highway route; they they include additional grants, philanthropy, and other sources.