Work resumes on MoPac South toll project in South Austin

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An indefinite hold on the MoPac South toll project has been lifted, and work can resume on developing the project in South Austin.

This project could add one or two toll lanes in each direction on MoPac between Cesar Chavez Street and Slaughter Lane. The total cost is estimated to be between $435 million and $540 million, and construction could begin in 2023.

From February 2016 to mid-2019, the MoPac South project was on an indefinite hold pending two issues. The first was a lawsuit that attempted to stall the project because it had not been studied together with the SH 45 SW and MoPac Intersections Project at Slaughter and La Crosse Avenue. A court ruled in favor of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in July 2018.

Additionally, a moratorium was implemented in late 2017 on toll projects statewide after the governor weighed in that no money from voter-approved propositions 1 and 7 could be comingled on projects with toll elements. Area toll projects, including on US 183 North, have slowly been resuming over the past year.

With the hold lifted, the Mobility Authority is able to resume work on the schematic design and on the environmental study to assess the project’s impact.

Justin Word, the Mobility Authority’s director of engineering, said the agency will be able to use most of the work that was completed before the hold on the project.

“Some traffic and those sort of things get stale very quickly so we’ll redo that,” he said at the agency’s July 24 board meeting. “The bones of the schematic work are there so we can reuse that.”

Mobility Authority staffers will meet with representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation and other stakeholders to refine the project schedule, design and cost estimates.

A fifth public hearing on the project is slated for early 2020. More information is available at www.mopacsouth.com.

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  1. Unlike the portion of MoPac through downtown, traffic on the southern segment is heavily commute based, so the best use of space would be two lanes that reverse direction mid day and mid night. Otherwise we will continue to have several lanes of empty concrete even during rush hour, and clumps of traffic in the single tolled lane stuck behind random slow moving vehicles.

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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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