Plans for SH 130 expansion left in limbo after statewide toll construction freeze

Plans to expand the SH 130 toll road are on hold.

Plans to expand the SH 130 toll road are on hold.

Image description
Proposed SH 130 construction
Plans for widening SH 130 continue to linger in uncertainty after Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in November called for the suspension of state funding for new toll road construction across the state.

That decision has left Texas Department of Transportation and Pflugerville officials in a precarious position of figuring out how to move forward with plans to manage congestion on the toll road.

“I spoke with a TxDOT representative, and he said the project had almost gone out to bid,” Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales said. “Basically, the engineering had been done, the funds were allocated and we were probably a few months away from getting [construction] started.”

The proposed SH 130 widening project would have added a third lane to both the northbound and southbound portions of the toll road, ranging between SH 45 N to Hwy. 71, at a cost of $195 million spread across two phases, according to a TxDOT fact sheet. TxDOT had also added flyover construction at US 290 in accordance with the project.

Traffic numbers on SH 130 continue to increase year over year. In 2017, SH 130 tolls registered 70,241,133 transactions, an 8 percent increase from the previous year, and considerably more drivers than the toll road experienced in 2013. Just five years ago SH 130 registered 41,365,500 transactions.

“When 130 was cut through hardly anyone was using it. Now we have traffic jams in the morning and the evening,” Gonzales said.

Construction on the project was set to begin in early 2018 with an estimated completion date set for sometime in 2020, but plans for SH 130—and toll road construction across the state—were scuttled in November after Abbott and Patrick asked TxDOT officials to drop new toll lane construction plans.

“This put us in a bit of a quandary because this is not a totally new toll road project,” said Mark Cross, a TxDOT representative.

TxDOT received billions in tax dollars from Propositions 1 and 7, passed by voters in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The ballot measures at the time enjoyed support partially because the state relayed that the spending of those funds on toll lanes would be considered unconstitutional.

Portions of the SH 130 widening project cost would be generated by revenue collected from the Central Texas Turnpike System.

Gonzales stated the additional lanes on SH 130 could help to ease traffic woes on I-35 and even help to thin congestion in downtown Austin. For Pflugerville, the expansion freeze will not have an immediate impact on potential development, but Gonzales shared concerns that pass-through traffic to the city will be impeded by any further delays.

“The toll road provides really great access to get to Pflugerville,” Gonzales said. “We’re really a regional community. We have people coming through from Cedar Park, Taylor, Georgetown, even as far as Killeen, Temple and further south.”

Gonzales said he has received hints from state lawmakers and officials that the project could soon be up for re-evaluation. Cross, though, said the plans are on hold for an indefinite period of time.

“Nothing is set in stone. We are not sure how it will all pan out,” Cross said.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Iain Oldman

Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.


MOST RECENT

Pflugerville ISD administration building
DATA: See which Pflugerville ISD schools gained—and lost—the most students with new enrollment zone changes

Pflugerville ISD's two easternmost campuses, Mott Elementary School and Cele Middle School, are projected to gain the most relief from overcrowding due to new enrollment zone changes.

Hutto announces top 3 search firm candidates for city manager hiring process

Hutto City Council approved interviews with Strategic Government Resources, Bakertilly and Affion Public in its search for a permanent city manager.

Krab Kingz Seafood's menu includes crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn and boiled egg, all seasoned in a signature boil. It also offers a garlic butter sauce that comes in five different flavors. (Courtesy Krab Kingz Seafood Cypress)
Krab Kingz Seafood celebrates opening in Pflugerville

Krab Kingz Seafood's menu includes crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn and boiled egg as well as a garlic butter sauce that comes in five different flavors.

The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate the grand opening of The Yard on Feb. 22, an outdoor fitness center added to the city's Clay Madsen Recreation Center. (Courtesy city of Round Rock)
The Yard marks grand opening at Round Rock's Clay Madsen Recreation Center

The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate the grand opening of The Yard on Feb. 22, an outdoor fitness center added to the city's Clay Madsen Recreation Center.

The PfISD Board of Trustees voted Feb. 20 to change enrollment boundaries or program offerings in the 2020-21 school year for eight schools. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Looking to get ahead of crowded schools east of SH 130, Pflugerville ISD shifts enrollment boundaries

The PfISD Board of Trustees voted Feb. 20 to change enrollment boundaries or program offerings in the 2020-21 school year for eight schools.

Hutto City Council unanimously approved a resolution of support related to a proposed affordable housing project, Carver Ridge Apartments, located near FM 1660 and CR 137. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hutto City Council unanimously approves resolution of support for affordable housing proposal

Hutto City Council unanimously approved a resolution of support related to a proposed affordable housing project, Carver Ridge Apartments, located near FM 1660 and CR 137.

The Round Rock ISD school calendar for 2021-22 includes the districtwide holiday of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17. (Courtesy Fotolia)
2021-22 academic calendar approved for Round Rock ISD

The district’s first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 18, 2021, and the 2021-22 school year will conclude May 26, 2022.

JUST IN: Round Rock ISD board officially creates a district police department

Following nearly three years of discussion and community input, the Round Rock ISD board of trustees officially authorized the formation of a district police department on Feb. 20.

Elsa England Elementary School is one of six Round Rock ISD campuses that will be affected by boundary changes beginning this fall. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
New attendance boundaries approved for 6 Round Rock ISD schools

Beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, the changes will affect five elementary schools—Caraway, Elsa England, Herrington, Joe Lee Johnson and Teravista—and one middle school, C.D. Fulkes.

Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hutto's Senior Watch group advocates for proposed senior citizen tax freeze

Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead.

State Sen. Kirk Watson announced his resignation from state government Feb. 18. A number of local politicians have expressed interest in the seat.
Who is interested in Kirk Watson’s Senate seat? Here is where local members of the state House stand

State Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Eddie Rodriguez say they are "seriously considering" a run for the District 14 seat.

The business offers 40 flavors of popcorn, specialty and boozy milkshakes, sweets, candy and more. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Snack Room celebrates soft opening in Round Rock

Shop offerings include 40 flavors of popcorn, specialty and boozy milkshakes, sweets, candy and more.

Back to top