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First Drivers See Congestion Relief in Central Texas

Thu November 29, 2012 - West Edition
CEG


Commuters and business people began easing through central Texas as the Texas Department of Transportation and the State Highway 130 Concession Company LLC opened SH 130 Nov. 11 between Austin and San Antonio.
Commuters and business people began easing through central Texas as the Texas Department of Transportation and the State Highway 130 Concession Company LLC opened SH 130 Nov. 11 between Austin and San Antonio.

Commuters and business people began easing through central Texas as the Texas Department of Transportation and the State Highway 130 Concession Company LLC opened SH 130 Nov. 11 between Austin and San Antonio. The new roadway, which spans 41 mi. (66 km) from Mustang Ridge to I-10 in Seguin, officially opened after years of planning and partnering to address congestion on I-35 in and around Austin.

Under terms of the contract SH 130 Concession Company invested nearly $1.4 billion and will operate and maintain the roadway for 50 years at no cost to the state.

“SH 130 is an outstanding highway and a great example of how transportation solutions can be realized when government and the private sector work together on behalf of all Texans,” said Ted Houghton, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. “Commuters and business people traveling through central Texas no longer have to deal with congestion, and best of all, taxpayers did not get the bill.”

The new roadway, which is an extension of SH 130 segments 1 through 4 from Georgetown to just south of Austin’s airport, represents the effective use of comprehensive development agreements where the private sector teams with TxDOT to build, operate and maintain highways. SH 130 provides an alternate choice for business users and commuters to travel efficiently through central Texas.

“Thanks to SH-130, traffic flowing along one of America’s most important trading routes has a new option, which will help ease travel time for motorists in the area” Gov. Rick Perry said.

“Infrastructure is a major reason businesses continue to look to Texas for expansion or relocation. We have to use our fiscal discipline and every tool at our disposal, including public-private partnerships like this and ending diversions from Fund 6, to create the infrastructure necessary to handle a population that’s growing by 1,000 people a day.”

“As we continue to find ways to address congestion for businesses and commuters in Texas, the opening of SH 130 could not come at a better time,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “Working with our partners to deliver this state-of-the-art facility is a huge win for anyone driving and anyone moving goods through central Texas. We’re grateful to Governor Perry and the legislature for providing us the tools to make this and other major projects become a reality for Texas drivers.”

Motorists were able to drive segments 5 and 6 of SH 130 for free until Nov. 11. On Nov. 11, the toll rate was set at $0.15 per mile for passenger vehicles using TxTag. With this new road, motorists can travel 90 mi. of toll road and bypass I-35 congestion between Seguin and Georgetown for about $12.

Opening the roadway also provides an opportunity to promote safety. Drivers are reminded to pay attention, buckle seatbelts, put away their cell phones, use the left lane for passing only, never drink and drive and obey all traffic laws.

“Driving safely begins with safe drivers and it’s our responsibility to remind people how to remain safe on Texas roads,” said Bill Meadows, Texas transportation commissioner. “The steps are basic ones, but we must still be vigilant in reminding drivers of how serious it is every time they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

TxDOT recently began posting the number of fatalities in Texas year-to-date as a sobering reminder for drivers to pay attention when they’re driving on Texas roadways. The department also recently began displaying signs all over the state urging motorists to use the left lane for passing only on major highways.

For more information, call 512/463-8700.