Toll roads rush traffic to next bottleneck in Austin

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Have toll roads helped or hurt traffic?
11/12/2007 6:05 PM
By: Catie Beck

Austin isn’t one of the country’s largest cities, but it’s been rated one of the worst on traffic congestion.

A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that the average Central Texas driver wastes 49 hours a year sitting in traffic.

Toll roads were the state’s answer to relieving the roadblocks. The 65 miles of new roads cost more than $3 billion.

Now that State Highways 130 and 45 are open, the Texas Department of Transportation said they’ve heard mixed reviews about whether they’re alleviating commute times.

“It’s been more good than bad I would say. [Drivers] used to spend more time trying to get to MoPac, now when they get to MoPac they get there faster but it bottlenecks,” TxDOT spokesperson Marcus Cooper said.

SH-130 runs 51.5 miles east of I-35 through Williamson and Travis counties, extending from I-35 north of Georgetown to Highway 71 near the airport. It’s touted as the state’s first super highway and the first leg of the Trans-Texas Corridor. SH-45 runs east-west from 183A, past MoPac and I-35, to SH-130.


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Toll roads

TxDOT said they’ve heard mixed reviews about whether they alleviate commute times.

The toll roads do save time and are rarely congested. But many say that although they offer more direct route, drivers often end up meeting a bottleneck on the other end.

The feeling on toll roads is that everyone wants relief from traffic, but not everyone wants to pay for it. On an average weekday, TxDOT records almost 130,000 toll transactions in Central Texas alone.

Many residents of Cedar Park are willing to wait rather than pay. Many say it doesn’t make sense to drop $4 a day in the bucket for traveling two miles of open road.

In short, the toll roads have meant better and faster access for some, but for others it’s meant waiting on crowded access roads and new bottleneck trouble spots.