A regional project that will extend the 183A Toll to Liberty Hill just cleared a hurdle ahead of construction.

On Aug. 27, the Texas Transportation Commission approved a development agreement with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority on the 183A Toll Phase III extension. The authorization from TTC was necessary for the project to move forward because it connects to state-managed, non-tolled facilities along US 183, said Peter Smith, director of the Transportation Planning and Program Division for the Texas Department of Transportation.

CTRMA documents show the extension will add approximately 6.6 miles of managed toll lanes from Hero Way in Leander to SH 29 in Liberty Hill. The tollway will add two lanes in each direction, though CTRMA documents state the roadway will ultimately expand to three lanes each way.

The Aug. 27 vote from the TTC now opens the door for CTRMA to begin construction on the project.

CTRMA documents show the expected price tag for the extension is $260 million, though Smith told commissioners that no state funds are being used to pay for this project. The expansion is expected to be funded through “a combination of revenue bonds and a federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan,” according to CTRMA documents. Revenue collected from tolls paid by drivers will then be used to pay off any bond debts and the federal loan.

TTC Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. said the commission received several comments of support for the extension from several regional authorities, including letters from the cities of Leander and Liberty Hill and a letter from the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Cedar Park City Council and the Williamson County Commissioners Court both recently passed resolutions in support of the expansion, according to Bugg.

CTRMA documents state the expansion is necessary to get ahead of traffic congestion that is expected for Williamson County, especially in the US 183 North corridor. The regional transportation organization expects traffic volumes along US 183 to increase by nearly 200% over the next two decades.

“Expeditious completion of this project will improve mobility in Williamson County,” Smith said Aug. 27.

According to CTRMA documents, the organization expects to begin construction on the toll expansion sometime in early 2021.