AUSTIN (KXAN) — Another major highway in Central Texas is slated for construction. The Texas Department of Transportation wants to widen State Highway 130 to add one lane in each direction, widen the shoulder and build additional exit and entrance lanes. The 22-mile section between State Highway 45 to the north and State Highway 71 to the south has been open since 2008.
During TxDOT’s last traffic count for the road in 2015, it found 46,646 drivers taking the section between SH 45 and US Highway 290 each day and 30,024 driving between US 290 and SH 71. Those numbers are projected to more than double by 2040.
“This is really a good time to go ahead and address some of that congestion,” says Diann Hodges, a TxDOT spokeswoman.
The projected cost to widen the road is $195 million with funding coming from the revenue generated from tolls paid into the Central Texas Turnpike System. Hodges says the project would not increase toll fees because the system was designed for this funding to be used for future improvements.
“This can only be used on the toll,” Hodges says. “This is money that is generated by the system and has to be reinvested into the system.”
The project could go out to bid by the end of the year with construction starting in early 2018 for the northern half. The section between US 290 and SH 71 could go out to bid by summer 2018.
“The good news is we don’t need additional right of way and we will not be displacing any businesses or homes or residences in the area,” Hodges says.
TxDOT will hold a public meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Manor High School on 12700 Gregg Manor Road to provide information on the proposed project and gather feedback. TxDOT officials say this will be the only public meeting.
Kate Weidaw is LIVE near part of the highway slated to be widened on KXAN News Today. She shares why TxDOT is planning the expansion now.