CTRMA, the Austin Texas region toller has in less than a decade managed the difficult feat of building lots of new roads in a community that is decidedly ‘green’ in its orientation. Their secret seems to have been a serious commitment to public outreach and working hard to communicate alternatives.
2013-08-23: Construction begins this fall of the first toll express lanes in Texas' capital Austin. They are being added to the 2x3 general use lanes for 11.2 miles, 18km north of downtown Austin. The 2x3 lanes expressway officially Loop 1 but known locally as the MoPac after the Missouri Pacific railroad which sold right of way for the expressway back in the 1960s. The project adds 4th lanes each direction.
Central Texas RMA has a neat new map of the status of various tollroads in the Austin area. We say neat because it is drawn in minimalist style, attempting to give you the general shape and orientation but omitting the superfluous twists and turns, and all but the most important routes and features.
They use the term "tolled expressway."
TxDOT has four in operation (solid purple):
2013-03-05: Tollways are now being developed on several approaches to Austin Bergstrom Airport. TxDOT has said it will sponsor a short 2 mile tollway outside the Airport in the median of Texas State Highway 71 (TX71) to complete expressway standard connections to the 130 tollroad.
2012/11/30: Tomorrow December 1 will see the first traffic traveling on the first tolled portion of the new Manor Expressway or US290E, to be the sixth tollroad in the Texas capital metro area. Central Texas RMA spokesman Steve Pustelnyk says they'll quietly remove barriers late this evening to allow traffic to use three eastbound main lanes of Phase 1 from US183 to Springdale Road, about 1.4 miles, 2.25km.
2012-08-30: Central Texas RMA is starting on toll lanes to provide a premium option for motorists traveling north of downtown Austin on the MoPac Expressway. $200m will build a 4th lane each direction for 11 miles between Cesar Chavez Street on the bank of the river downtown up to Parmer Lane where TxDOT's Loop 1 tollroad begins.
There will only be access and egress at each end and at one intermediate interchange - with Tx183 about midway.
By mid-November motorists will have a new highspeed route between San Antonio and Dallas bypassing the I-35 congestion in the Austin area. Segments 5 and 6 of Texas SH130 will open late in the fall making a direct connection between I-35 at Georgetown on the northern end of the Austin area and I-10 near Seguin.
75mph speed limit signs should be appearing in early August on the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority's 183A tollroad that leads to the suburbs in the northwest of Austin TX - Cedar Park and Leander.
A new state law allows higher speeds on modern expressway standard highways like 183A. The authority says a speed study determined 75mph as the appropriate speed limit. It was previously 70mph.
Texas' capital and 4th metro area Austin (pop 1.78m) is getting toll express lanes. The project involves 4th laning of 11 miles, 18km the MoPac Expressway (Loop 1), one of two main highways (the other being I-35) north out of Austin's central business district and carrying 180,000 vehicles/day. Probably only in Texas could they find $200m of surplus roads funds and put it into a toll project avoiding the need to borrow a cent.
The Austin Texas Mobility Authority opened a five mile, 8km extension of its TX183A tollroad today (Friday April 6). The extension in the Leander area to the northwest of central Austin involved $105 million construction of a 2x3 lane tolled expressway in a wide median reservation between untolled frontage road lanes that intersect with cross roads at grade.