Nearly 30 years in the making, construction on SH 45 SW Toll starts

Construction on SH 45SW begins. Nov. 8th, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Dugan)
Construction on SH 45SW begins. Nov. 8th, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Dugan)

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  It has taken about 30 years, but today construction on the SH 45 Southwest Project officially started.

Drivers in Hays and Southern Travis County will eventually see some relief to their commute. Currently, travelers along SH 45SW will notice the road turning into Mopac in South Austin.

As a result of growth and development, drivers are using local roads, such as Manchaca Road, Slaughter Lane and Brodie Lane as commuter corridors to access MoPac and downtown Austin. These local roads have become increasingly congested, with signalized intersections exacerbating the traffic problems. Some neighbors also express concerns about cut-through traffic and the inability to safely exit their neighborhoods.

SH 45SW will be the new 3.6-mile toll road, with two lanes in each direction; connecting MoPac eastward to the improved FM 1626 in Hays County. The project will feature extensive water quality protection measures as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The Mobility Authority is also pursuing GreenRoads® certification, a third-party rating system that evaluates transportation projects by assessing the holistic use of environmental, social and economic best practices. Their goal is to achieve sustainable “green” transportation infrastructure that is designed and constructed to a level substantially higher than standard requirements.

Victor Collie lives and works in Shady Hollow, which is one neighborhood the toll road will affect. He says the project will bring relief for drivers out as far as San Marcos.

“Austin seems like they like to development property, homes and businesses, but they have a hard time building roads,” says Collie. “A lot of people work in Austin. It’s a hard time to get in there because it’s bumper to bumper.”

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says using SH 45SW, drivers will save 9 to 17 minutes over local routes to downtown. Drivers who continue to use local routes to access downtown Austin will save six – seven minutes.

Officials with the CTRMA say the construction should take about three years before it’s completed.

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