(Austin, Texas)— The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) today announced that crews will break ground this week on the SH 45SW Project. Construction of this project marks a major step forward in restoring the vital connection into Austin’s downtown core for residents and commuters in southwest and northern Hays counties.
“Central Texas' natural beauty is one reason so many people relocate here, and this is one of the most sensitive environmental areas in the region.” Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said “This project was developed with a delicate balance in mind—meeting the population’s need for new infrastructure, while still taking appropriate measures to protect our environment. I’m proud of the thoughtful planning and coordination that went into making this project a truly collaborative approach to sustainable environmentally-sensitive design.”
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 to achieve sustainable “green” transportation infrastructure that is designed and constructed to a level substantially higher than standard requirements.
The project has been the source of widespread community support. Mark Jones, Hays County Commissioner, Precinct Two, said, “This is a project that residents of Hays County have waited a long time to see be built. There are thousands of Hays County residents that work for AISD, City of Austin and Travis County, all of which commute into Austin every day and keep the city going. We look forward to the increased mobility and connectivity that the roadway will provide into Travis County and Austin for the growing population of the Buda-Kyle area.”
The new roadway will offer immediate relief to drivers in southwest Travis and northern Hays counties. It will also continue to provide mobility benefits long term, even as population grows. In addition, it will alleviate safety concerns associated with neighborhood cut-through traffic by redirecting commuters off of Manchaca Road, Slaughter Lane and Brodie Lane, thereby allowing these local roads to better serve local neighborhoods.
The $109 million project received funding from Hays County, Travis County as well as a loan and grant from the Texas Department of Transportation. The project is expected to take approximately three years to complete.