The opening of the flyover is eight months ahead of schedule for contractor Webber, which had planned to open the southbound SH 130 to westbound Toll 290 originally in August. Through Jan. 31, drivers may use the new flyover for free. After Jan. 31, drivers with an electronic toll tag will pay 61 cents to use the flyover or 92 cents to pay by mail.
“The Mobility Authority is proud to deliver this critically-needed connection ahead of schedule,” said Bobby Jenkins—the chairman of the board of directors for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is overseeing the project—in a statement. “It’s extremely rewarding to see all of the improvements that have taken shape at this intersection since 2015 when the need for greater mobility was first identified. Many of our stakeholders comment on how quickly the work is progressing, so we’re glad to be on track to substantially improve two of Central Texas’ most heavily-traveled highways.”
With the opening of the new flyover, drivers wanting to use the nontolled frontage road will also see some changes, according to the Mobility Authority.
From southbound SH 130, the exit previously named 437 will not provide access to the Toll 290 frontage roads. Drivers should instead us the new Exit 437A to use a new bridge that allows them to bypass the Parmer Lane intersection and access the nontolled lanes.
Aiming to improve mobility
Construction on the $127 million project began in November 2018 and will completely finish in late 2021. The Mobility Authority is funding two of the three flyovers: one going from northbound SH 130 to westbound Toll 290 and one going from southbound SH 130 to westbound Toll 290. Both will be tolled.
The Texas Department of Transportation is providing $41.1 million using toll revenue from the Central Texas Turnpike System to build the eastbound Toll 290 to southbound SH 130 flyover, which will not be tolled. The existing eastbound Toll 290 to northbound SH 130 flyover is also not tolled.
In March 2019, the Mobility Authority announced the project also was awarded a federal loan in the amount of $46.94 million through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.
In 2019, the contractor approached the Mobility Authority about the possibility of finishing part of the project early and asked about incentives. In June, the agency’s board approved incentives for Webber to finish construction early.
“The contractor is looking at squeezing the phasing down and will bring in additional traffic control and crews to achieve this,” said Justin Word, the agency’s director of engineering, at the June 26 board meeting. “If the facility opened [early], we get increased safety and mobility.”
These incentives include receiving $8,000 per day for opening the southbound SH 130 to westbound Toll 290 flyover ahead of schedule. Webber also proposed in June changing the opening date of the northbound SH 130 to westbound Toll 290 flyover from June 2021 to late 2020. If the contractor meets that new deadline, it could receive $5,000 per day ahead of schedule.
The TxDOT-funded flyover from eastbound Toll 290 to southbound SH 130 is slated to open in late 2021.