After two years of planning, officials from the city of Pflugerville and the Texas Department of Transportation gathered Oct. 4 to break ground on a project to expand roughly 20 miles of SH 130.
The expansion—which is expected to cost nearly $100 million—is designed to ease congestion on the roadway between SH 45 and SH 71.
“Usage on [SH 130] has and continues to exceed expectations,” said Linda Sexton, toll operations deputy director with TxDOT. “In anticipation of the future and the increase due to the area’s population boom, it’s necessary to plan for the future, and we see this expansion as the opportunity to address both current and future congestion concerns.”
During the last fiscal year, TxDOT said there were more than 48.8 million transactions on SH 130 between SH 45 and SH 71 with an average of 133,775 transactions each day. TxDOT projects that by the year 2040 that daily average will rise to 168,500 transactions.
To accommodate that growth the expansion project will add a northbound lane and a southbound lane to the roadway. The first phase—which is underway—will expand Segment 2, a roughly 9-mile-long portion of the roadway between SH 45 and Hwy. 290. The Segment 2 expansion will cost $36.7 million and is expected to take about two years to complete, according to TxDOT. Construction on Segment 3, which runs from Hwy. 290 to SH 71, is expected to begin early next year, and officials anticipate it taking two years to complete.
“I think folks will see the biggest difference in peak hours as the extra lanes help move traffic,” said John Peters, TxDOT assistant area engineer for the Georgetown-area office. “Right now they are experiencing congestion and delays during those peak driving times.”
The project is being funded by the Central Texas Turnpike System using funds that remain from the original construction of the roadway, TxDOT spokesperson Bradley Wheelis said.
The contract for the Segment 3 project is roughly $56.1 million, according to TxDOT.
Currently toll road revenues are being used to pay bondholders, Wheelis said.
During the project drivers will encounter speed-limit reductions along the roadway. Currently the speed limit is reduced from 80 mph to 70 mph from Cameron Road to Hwy. 290 in both directions. Speed-limit reductions will move north as the project progresses, according to Peters. The speed limit is expected to return to normal once the project is complete.
Peters said drivers can also anticipate lane closures between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. throughout the project, although those will only take place when crews need to perform certain tasks. Most of the work will happen during daytime hours behind concrete barriers, Peters said.
“Remember this is an active construction zone, and we want everyone to make it home safely at the end of the day,” Peters said. “Pay attention in construction zones and remember the speed limit has been reduced. Help do your part in making this a successful project.”
Peters said SH 130 could someday see another expansion, but TxDOT has not determined a need for that yet.