Decision on SW45 Toll Road could come next week

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A decades old idea to connect more of South Austin to MoPac has new life.

Travis County Commissioners could vote as early as next Tuesday on a $15 million item to go forth with the Southwest 45 Toll Road.

The proposal would build a 4-lane toll road connecting FM 1626 to MoPac.

Supporters believe the highway would divert traffic off Brodie Lane and FM 1626, two roads providing a back road way onto MoPac for drivers in south Travis County and those coming north from Hays County.

But opponents say it is simply shifting gridlock rather than alleviating.

“We don’t have any more room for any more cars on MoPac,” said Jim Evans. “We can take some more lanes.”

Current congestion on FM 1626 and Brodie Lane have become a nuisance to Pamela Baggett and the South Austin Civic Club who support the toll road.

“It is the Berlin Wall for neighborhood kids, they cannot go across the street to play with friends,” said Baggett.

But the Save Our Springs Alliance believes there are simple reasons why the idea has died in past years.

“It makes no sense for transportation reasons or environmental reasons,” said Bill Bunch.

Bunch says the outgoing commissioners are trying to ramrod the project through before incoming commissioner candidates who opposed the road take office.

The lack of a quality environmental study and the effect on aquifer water are also concerning issues to the alliance, but Baggett says a toll road would improve air quality.

“We want the air protected and we have to end this stop and go traffic.”

Hays County would also be asked to pay $5 million towards the project.

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