New tolls proposed for 183 between ABIA and downtown


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 10:40 PM

 AUSTIN -- In the future, commuting to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could be much faster than it is today. But it will more than likely cost you.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, and TXDOT, are hosting public input meetings regarding proposed improvements to 7.2 miles of Highway 183. The project would extend from ABIA to Highway 290.

The new and improved portion of Highway 183 will be called The Bergstrom Expressway.  
Plans call for toll roads in the middle of 183. A spokesperson says the access roads will remain free.

A second open house, where public input was sought by TXDOT, was held Thursday evening at a community center in southeast Austin.

Many of the residents from the area who attended the open house came with questions. Some with concerns about access, turnarounds, and tolls.

“As a practical matter, I'll probably be able to get by using the access road if I don't want to pay those tolls. But I'm a little concerned about the privatization of our roads and turning them over to a private companies,” said Joe Berra, a Knollwood Neighborhood resident.

“People in Montopolis are a low income neighborhood. People can't afford the toll roads. They're not going to be able to access or use those tolls. And they're going to have to make that decision, do I put a meal on the table, or do I pay the tolls so I can get to work on time,” said Angelica Noyola, a Montopolis Neighborhood resident.

Rick L’Amie with CTRMA says public input is vital to TXDOT’s plans for Highway 183 improvements.

“It's really important for us to hear what citizens think. What their questions are, what their concerns are, and they are taken into account. We're required by state and federal law to take a look at these things in order to acquire funding,” said L’Amie who also told KVUE that there is no price tag on what the improvements could cost, because the plans are not set in stone.

The next public hearing is scheduled for February 2014.

If TxDOT gives final approval, construction could begin in 2016, with a target completion date sometime in 2020.