Central Texas tolling agency revives MoPac South project with virtual open house beginning in November

The virtual open house will be live from Nov. 22 to Jan. 7. The Mobility Authority and TxDOT will accept comments by mail, by email and through a project website. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
The virtual open house will be live from Nov. 22 to Jan. 7. The Mobility Authority and TxDOT will accept comments by mail, by email and through a project website. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

The virtual open house will be live from Nov. 22 to Jan. 7. The Mobility Authority and TxDOT will accept comments by mail, by email and through a project website. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation plan to revive the MoPac South project, beginning with a virtual open house running from Nov. 22 to Jan. 7.

The 8-mile project would run from Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane—a segment that sees up to 179,000 cars and trucks per day, according to a Mobility Authority press release.

“If we do nothing to address congestion, drivers could spend an additional 35 minutes traveling the corridor by 2035,” the press release reads.

The six recommended builds would add one or two express lanes and cost between an estimated $275 million to $350 million. The transportation agencies also still need to determine how the toll lanes would connect to downtown.



Environmental opposition

The project has been on pause since a lawsuit was filed by the Save Our Springs Alliance in 2016, which said that the environmental review of the SH 45 SW project, the MoPac intersection project and the MoPac South project should have been studied as one.

In 2018, the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a previous ruling in favor of the Mobility Authority’s ability to continue with the project.

“Currently the [Mobility Authority] is not aware of pending lawsuits regarding the MoPac South Project,” Mobility Authority spokesperson Emily Gauci said in an email.

However, Kelly Davis, a Save Our Springs Alliance staff attorney, said the organization plans to continue opposing the work on environmental grounds.

“Given that the project is currently undergoing environmental review, we do not anticipate a legal challenge for a while. But we will be opposing the project in the court of public opinion and at every level of the decision-making process,” Davis said in an email.

She added the organization's leaders are most concerned about the water quality and environmental impacts to the Edwards Aquifer, Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake and the endangered salamanders that inhabit the aquifer.

Participating in the open house

The open house will be entirely virtual to limit face-to-face contact, according to a Mobility Authority press release.

The virtual open house will be available on Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. The Mobility Authority and TxDOT will also be receiving feedback by email at [email protected] and mail at Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, c/o MoPac South Environmental Study, 3300 N. I-35, Ste. 625, Austin, TX 78705.

The press release stated the agencies plan to hold an additional open house in 2022 and public hearing in 2024.
By Benton Graham

Metro Reporter, Austin

Benton joined Community Impact Newspaper as a metro reporter covering transportation in Central Texas in June 2021. Benton's writing has appeared in Vox, The Austin Chronicle, Austonia and Reporting Texas. Originally from Minneapolis, Benton graduated from William & Mary and eventually moved to Austin in 2018.



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