AUSTIN, Texas — In a few weeks, a new toll road will open in southern Travis County. State Highway 45 Southwest is planned to connect the southernmost end of MoPac to FM 1626.
The road will be a four-lane tolled highway. Two lanes travel west, two lanes east.
Driver John Mills said it may be helpful to get around.
“Transportation is good -- getting around back and forth from Hays County to Austin without being on I-35,” said Mills.
However, he said he was tired of toll roads.
KVUE asked the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the tolling agency for the region, why it must be tolled.
“The revenue from the tolls is what built this,” said Mike Heiligenstein, executive director the mobility authority, or CTRMA. “This is a $110 million project and we did it in record time. And not only do the tolls build the original, but they maintain this road.”
The road also does not have any frontage roads, which the mobility authority said was due to environmental constraints.
“We were able to miss environmental features that are important. We were able to miss karst features,” said Heiligenstein.
The agency said the toll on the road will not vary. It is 99 cents for a one-way trip.
There is also a trail alongside Bear Creek, to connect to Austin's Violet Crown trail.
“This is a-once-in-a lifetime opportunity to complete a huge gap in the violet crown system,” said Heiligenstein.
There are long-term plans to extend SH45 SW to I-35, but that still needs to be studied by TxDOT before any construction plans are set in stone.
SH 45SW is still being paved. It is expected to open in a few weeks, weather permitting.
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