America's fastest highway now open in Central Texas

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and JESSICA VESS / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 24 at 6:19 PM

LOCKHART, Texas  -- The final stretch of State Highway 130 opened to drivers Wednesday.

Dozens gathered at a ribbon cutting ceremony along the toll road in Lockhart near SH 142, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and the mayors of Lockhart and Seguin.

The ceremony debuted sections five and six of SH 130 to drivers for the first time. It includes 41 miles stretching from Mustang Ridge south of Austin, to Interstate 10 in Seguin. The two phases complete the 130 toll road project.

The new parts of SH 130 boast the fastest speed limit in the nation at 85 miles-per-hour.

Kelli Reyna with the Texas Department of Transportation says the stretch of road was built for speed, but that drivers must stay alert.

"You have to realize the driver responsibility of being safe on the roadway," Reyna said.

If a driver had to suddenly brake while driving 85 mph, it's estimated the driver would travel 532 feet before coming to a stop.

"Possibly you could get into a fatal accident going that kind of speed," said Tommy Barron whose family has owned a towing and body shop in Lockhart for 45 years.

He showed KVUE damage done to vehicles that were going about 60 or 70 miles an hour. He says he'd hate to see what could happen at 85 mph, especially if a driver is distracted.

"They're going to have a tendency to go off the road, and once you go off the road at 85 mph, it's going to be hard to correct that," Barron said.

He points out it's a good thing that north and southbound traffic is divided to help eliminate head-on crashes.

The opening of this highway marks a big turn for not only commuting, but economic development too.

“It's been a long time coming, but I'm telling you the wait was worth it because what it's going to do is it's going to open up another whole area for development -- not only residential, retail, for travel, but also economic development that will bring so much more not only to the city of Seguin but the city of Lockhart and all the area in between,” said Seguin Mayor Betty Matthies.

The new stretch of SH 130 is a toll road. Drivers will have to pay to use the road. The price for drivers in a family car or truck is about 15 cents a mile. That comes out to about $6.17 to get through the entire 41-mile stretch. Truck drivers will pay more based on the number of axles. It will cost the driver of an 18-wheeler roughly $24 to complete the drive. That’s based on the discounted price for drivers with a TXTag account. Drivers who don't have a tag can still use the toll, but they'll pay more. A bill will come in the mail.

For the first few weeks following the opening of sections five and six, tolls will be waived. The Toll Authority will begin charging tolls on Nov. 11.

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