Big rigs still drive on I-35, despite alternative routes

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by ANDREW HORANSKY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on May 7, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Updated Friday, May 7 at 6:14 PM

When the SH-130 toll road opened a year ago this week, it was supposed to ease congestion on Interstate 35.  It was also supposed to move cars and trucks from one end of Austin to the other more quickly.

But recent KVUE helicopter video shows a different picture.  Traffic remains congested on I-35, and SH-130 is empty.  The Texas Turnpike Authority has a theory on why.

“A lot of traffic is still coming to destinations in Austin,” said Turnpike Director Mark Tomlinson.  “And if they are, then probably I-35 is going to be the choice for a bigger percentage of that traffic.”

Though some big rig drivers told KVUE the toll road works well, they said they cannot justify the expense.  Ken Dukes says he stays on I-35 because it costs him $27 to take SH-130.

“Yeah, it’s 45 minutes to an hour and a half of my time,” he said, “but it’s not worth $27.”

Others say the saving of time is worth their money. 

“Absolutely,” said William Brown, driver.  “It wouldn’t make sense for me to go through that traffic every day.”

A spokesperson for the Texas Turnpike Authority believes it will take time, as well as more congestion along I-35, before the public fully embraces the benefits of the SH 130 toll road.

That 130 project commences in 2012, when it will connect I-35 in Georgetown to I-10 in Seguin.

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