AUSTIN (KXAN) — It has been nearly 10 years since two main sections of SH 130 opened to drivers.
When it opened, it felt like no one was using the freeway (except maybe for some feral hogs), but that has since changed. The Texas Department of Transportation is asking the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for money to add an extra lane in each direction—bringing the total to three lanes in each direction—along SH 130 starting at SH 45 North in Pflugerville and ending at State Highway 71 in Del Valle.
SH 130, which runs parallel to Interstate 35, and has seen considerable traffic growth during peak periods as congestion on other regional roadways continues to worsen. Last year, traffic on SH 130 increased by 18 percent when compared to 2015.
The project, if approved, focuses on improving two sections: Segment 2 (9-mile stretch) which runs from SH 45 to US 290 and Segment 3 (11.4-mile stretch) from US 290 to SH 71.
TxDOT spokesperson Diann Hodges says the additions would help get a jump start on future congestion. “What we have found is 130 has really surpassed expectations on how many people are using it at the moment.”
Construction segments would begin about six months apart. Adding the additional lanes would cost around $195 million. TxDOT officials say this project will not cost taxpayers any additional funds. It’s being paid for by remaining funds from original construction plus interest earnings set aside for capital improvements like widening the toll road
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is currently working on improving the US 290 at SH 130 intersection, including adding three flyovers to the interchange. The flyovers are expected to decrease traffic delays on SH 130 during peak travel periods, as well as lessen travel times at the frontage road signal lights.
Editor’s Note: Original version indicated the segments 2 and 3 opened five years ago, but it has been 10 years. Also, the cost was listed at $250 million, but it’s $195 million.