On Sept. 13, Travis County commissioners unanimously approved sending a letter to Hays County opposing the $2.5 million SH 45 project.

The project would complete the approximately 3.7 mile “gap” of SH 45 Southwest between I-35 and FM 1626.

The project was approved 4-1 by Hays County commissioners on Aug. 30, when it was stated that Travis County Commissioners Ann Howard, Margaret Gomez and Jeff Travillion had “very positive” views on the project.

The project will connect I-35 to South MoPac, effectively creating an I-35 bypass and causing truck traffic to be rerouted onto MoPac, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said.

“The reality of taking this action is that it will have a dramatic and harmful impact on Travis County and on the city of Austin by enabling an enormous amount of traffic to funnel from I-35 onto MoPac crossing the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer,” Shea said.

The letter from Travis County also states that the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization requires a written agreement from jurisdictions that will be partially affected by a project to be included in the CAMPO Regional Transportation Plan.

Hays County resident Darlene Starr, who lives near the project, said she also opposes construction.

“[The project] would create a tremendous amount of pass-through traffic that is both undesirable to area residents but also was promised to not ever happen,” Starr said.

Starr added the proposed construction could harm what is a sensitive area for Austin’s water quality as well as bird, bat and butterfly migration.

According to the letter from Travis County, traffic from the project would affect the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve lands, Austin Water Quality Protection lands, karst features, Edwards Aquifer, endangered species habitats and conservation easements.

“I don’t think the right approach is for one community to take action that would have a profound effect on the neighbors without having a more complete conversation about it, so that's the nature of the letter we are sending to Hays County,” Shea said.

Community Impact Newspaper reached out to Hays County commissioners for a response and will update this article accordingly.