TxTag now works in Kansas and other highlights from Wednesday’s Central Texas toll agency meeting

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Texas tolling agencies now have an agreement with the Kansas Turnpike Authority to allow the use of Texas toll transponders on Kansas toll roads.

Tim Reilly, director of operations for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, said TxTag, TollTag and EZ TAG began working on Kanas toll roads in mid-May, and K-TAG may also be used on Texas toll roads as a method of payment. TxTag already works on toll roads in the Houston and Dallas areas.

“The overall goal is that every toll agency in the state will accept a transponder that every [other toll]agency uses,” Reilly said. “Right now different agencies have different transponders and we can’t read the signals for the transponders. One of the initiatives is to come out with a national transponder that everybody can read. That’s probably a little ways off.”

Within the next few months, Texas toll transponders can also be used to pay for tolls on Oklahoma toll roads and vice versa, Reilly said.

The agency is also moving forward to have more interoperability with other tolling authorities throughout the U.S. Plans are moving forward on agreements to use Texas tags in Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana by early next year. In a year, Reilly said he expects to have an agreement with EZPass, which includes 38 tolling agencies in the northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and Maine.

MoPac project breakout

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Mobility Authority’s board approved moving forward with seeking bids for about $5 million worth of miscellaneous projects related to the MoPac Improvement Project, which is adding one toll lane in each direction between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez Street.

Project elements include adding sound walls on northbound MoPac near the Westminster facility and on the southbound MoPac near RM 2222 and additional aesthetic work on other sound walls. The agency is also slightly modifying the southern end of the shared-use path near US 183 and The University of Texas’ Pickle Research Campus.

Justin Word, the agency’s director of engineering, said the Mobility Authority will hire a new contractor this fall for the work and construction could begin in late 2017.

“The real crux of the reason for this project is we believe we can realize some significant savings on these work elements. The bulk of these were [Mobility Authority] requested changes after the project was awarded,” Word said.

The cost of the projects still fits in with the overall $204 million total, he said.

SH 130 and Hwy. 290 interchange

Three new direct connectors will be built between SH 130 and Hwy. 290, also called the Manor Expressway. (via Courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority)

Easier access between Manor Expressway and SH 130

The Texas Department of Transportation has agreed to fund a direct connector from eastbound Hwy. 290 East, the Manor Expressway, to southbound SH 130 at a cost of $41.1 million.

On Wednesday, the Mobility Authority board approved waiving primacy on this flyover to allow TxDOT to fund it.

The Mobility Authority will still design and build the connection along with two other direct connectors from southbound SH 130 to westbound Manor Expressway and from northbound SH 130 to westbound Manor Expressway.

Construction on all three flyovers will begin in spring 2018 and open to traffic in fall 2020.

Disclosure: Amy Ellsworth, general manager for Community Impact Newspaper’s Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition, was appointed in February to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board of directors, serving a two-year term through Jan. 31, 2019.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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