The first phase of the Central Texas Turnpike Project is on schedule to open by December 2007, and construction is expected to begin on several sections later this year, according to the first quarterly progress report released by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
The first phase of the project was financed with state highway funds, local contributions, a federal loan and the issuance of bonds by the Texas Transportation Commission, marking the first time the commission issued bonds to finance construction of a state highway. The first phase includes Loop 1, State Highway (SH) 45 and the northern 49 mi. (79 km) of SH 130.
Currently on SH 130 there are numerous pre-construction activities ongoing, including archeological surveys, site location for wetland mitigation, acquisition of right of way, and completion of design plans.
It is estimated that SH 130 construction will begin this spring. Work on the northern portion should proceed as right of way becomes available.
To build SH 130, TxDOT is using the state’s first exclusive development agreement that allows construction to start while design work and right-of-way acquisition continue on other parts of the project. A traditional project delivery process is being used to build SH 45 and Loop 1.
A contract has been awarded for the SH 45 North/Loop 1 interchange, where construction should start this month.
A request for bids on four additional contracts for SH 45 North and Loop 1 will be posted in 2003. They include:
•SH 130 —I-35 to U.S. 183, approx. 49 mi. (79 km)
•SH 45 North —west of U.S. 183 to SH 130, approx. 13 mi. (21 km)
•Loop 1 —FM 734 (Parmer Lane) to SH 45 North, approx. 3 mi. (4.8 km).