Let the TTC land grab begin…Seguin residents brace for eminent domain abuse to benefit Cintra

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Highway 130 begins push for property

Published June 17, 2007

SEGUIN — The property acquisition process for the fifth and sixth segments of the State Highway 130 toll road is getting under way.

Seguin, Fentress, Luling and Lockhart area landowners, businesses and residents who live or work in the pathway are now being notified.

Frank P. Holzmann, the SH 130 project manager for the Texas Department of Transportation, Dennis L. Sedlachek, vice president for right of way for the SH 130 Concession Co., and Jessica Schenk of Tate/Austin public relations were in Seguin on Friday to announce the process that will eventually clear the way for construction of the final two phases of the roadway.

SH 130 Segments 5 and 6 will link IH-10 to the highway that will connect a point north of Lockhart to Georgetown. The final two segments will be about 40 miles long, and will connect to IH-10 east of Seguin, in the vicinity of the Department of Public Safety’s weigh station.

A partnership of the Zachry American Infrastructure and Cintra companies will be responsible for design, construction and operation of the toll road, which is expected to offer a low-traffic connection from the Seguin area to the northern central Texas sector, providing relief from traffic on a congested IH-35. The two companies established the SH 130 Concession Co. to design, build and operate the toll road in Travis, Caldwell and Guadalupe counties.

TxDOT will oversee all right of way acquisition and relocation procedures, and the state will be the record titleholder to all right of way acquired for segments 5 and 6 of SH 130.

“We’ve got agreements signed to begin the right of way acquisition process,” Holzmann said.

O.R. Colan Associates contracted to aid in acquiring all of the necessary property rights for the project in the name of the state.

Schenk said the firm has opened an office in Lockhart and communicated with property owners who will be affected by the toll road’s pathway. Out of 309 property owners who were notified by mail about the acquisition phase, 47 parcels are in the Luling area, and 29 parcels have been identified in the Guadalupe County/Seguin area.

Sedlachek said SH 130’s fourth segment should be complete by the end of the year.

Segments 5 and 6 will begin construction in 2009, and should be complete by summer or fall of 2012.

“My job is to see that property owners are treated fairly and equitably, and treated in a professional manner,” Sedlachek, who serves on the city of Pflugerville’s planning and zoning commission, explained.

“We are going to do our very best to keep the communication open. Every property owner will be treated individually to make the transition as comfortable as possible,” Schenk said.

O.R. Colan Associates is sending a right-of-way acquisition organizer kit to property owners that includes an introductory letter, an informational brochure, a “State Purchase of Right of Way” booklet, a “Relocation Assistance” booklet and a notice that they will soon be contacted personally by a representative who will discuss the acquisition and relocation processes and address any concerns a property owner or tenant may have.

Landowners and tenants then will be contacted by surveyors, appraisers, relocation agents and environmental experts.

Sedlachek said the SH 130 route was chosen to affect property owners as little as possible.

“We’ve received some feedback. Some say hurry up so we can move on, and others say we’ve been here for years and we don’t want to be affected. We try to speed up the process for the willing, and go into eminent domain proceedings if they do not want to talk to us,” Sedlachek said.

He said highly trained and certified state property appraisers will determine the fair market value for any property that is acquired for the toll road project.

The total length of SH 130 is 91 miles. Segment 5 begins north of Mustang Ridge and will drop 12 miles down to F.M. 1185 in Lockhart.

Segment 6 connects from F.M. 1185 to IH-10, a distance of about 28 miles. It will provide direct connections to State Highway 45, which is under construction and will be completed by 2010, and to U.S. 183 north of Lockhart.

The new roadway will not affect any existing roads. Current project cost is $1.35 billion, which Zachry/Cintra will bear and recover their costs through toll collections.

Allen A. Armstrong is the contact person at O.R. Colan Associates for affected property owners who want more information about the acquisition proceeding. His office is located at 1001 W. San Antonio St. in Lockhart, and the telephone number is 1-866-933-4672.

The general public can find information about the toll road by visiting www.mysh130.com.