Manor Expressway US290E - Austin TX opening first portion of a new pike late tonight

December 1, 2012
By Peter Samuel

2012/11/30: Tomorrow December 1 will see the first traffic traveling on the first tolled portion of the new Manor Expressway or US290E, to be the sixth tollroad in the Texas capital metro area. Central Texas RMA spokesman Steve Pustelnyk says they'll quietly remove barriers late this evening to allow traffic to use three eastbound main lanes of Phase 1 from US183 to Springdale Road, about 1.4 miles, 2.25km. They expect to open direct connector ramps at US183 to the Manor and the westbound main lanes around the turn of the year.

When the high connector ramps at the US290/US183 interchange and both directions of main lanes are open in January 2013 tolls will begin on Phase 1.

Phase 2 will take the new tollroad another 4.8 miles, 7,7km east to Parmer Lane just beyond the 130 Toll Road in Travis an eastern suburb of the Austin area. The whole length of this connector road, 6.2 miles, 10km is supposed to open in 2014 at a total cost of $427m.

The Manor Expressway is an upgrade of a 2x2 lane surface arterial known as US290.  It was built in a  wide median with this kind of upgrade in mind.

In standard Texan practice free lanes are continued as frontage lane roadways. And pretty good ones too - 3 lanes each direction.

So the lanes profile is 3/3/3/3. (see diagram nearby)

The outer free roadways have signals at the intersections and support the toll lanes by providing access and egress via slip lanes, the intersections of the frontage roadways providing for some of the movements that would otherwise require an interchange.

$68m in tolls forecast for 2035

An investment grade traffic and revenue study by URS suggests that first full year revenue will be $13.3m in 2015 rising to $23.8m in 2020, $36.8m in 2025, $49.9m in 2030, $68.2m in 2035. Traffic on the existing surface arterial closest to Austin (eastern end) was an average daily  of 22k in 1990 rising to 47.9k in 2000 and reached 63k in 2008.

It then dropped in the great recession year of 2009 to 59k. (p2-7)

2010 saw a return to 2008 traffic volumes, URS reports.

The study uses a value of time saved average of $14.80/hour, 56% of average weekly earnings.

Population assumptions

It uses Austin area population projections of 2010 1.02m, 2015 1.1m, 2020 1.29m, 2025 1.29m, 2030 1.39m, 2035 1.5m. That's an average annual growth of 1.54%. The Manor Expressway study area population grows faster - at 1.91% pa.

There are six toll zones in the 6.2 miles for a closed toll system in the main  lanes.

The original design provided for four sets of the toll gantries are over the ramps and two over the mainline (see diagrammatic map in two parts ast the bottom.) This allows the tolls to be computed on a  trip basis with a record generated of the on and off points of journeys - the electronic equivalent of a ticket system.

Most tollroads in Texas have gantries over the mainline and a trip consists solely of multiple toll points passed - the electronic equivalent of a so-called barrier toll system.

However this trip toll arrangement design was abandoned and the Manor Expressway, as built has a conventional electronic-barrier type layout. (CORRECTION)

Toll system

System integration is being done by Schneider Electric (previously Telvent.) The equipment is basically 3M (previously FSTech) with Sirit readers overhead and Idris in-pavement smart loops for vehicle detection, toll zone tracking and classification by axle count.

The Manor Expressway readers are single mode ATA readers that can read the old ATA tags and the TransCore 6B+ sticker tags that operate in SeGo mode with TransCore readers or in ATA mode with other readers.


The base forecast for starting has ramp toll points charging 53c for transponder transaction and 96c for a license plate toll and double that ($1.06 and $1.92) at the intermediate main lanes toll.

Daily transactions are estimated to rise from 49.8k in 2015, 70.2k in 2020, 94.7k 2025, 109k 2030, 128.9k in 2035. (p7-1 thru 3)

In 2015 the toll/free frontage volume percent split seems on inspect to be about 40/60. BY 2030 it looks to be more like 60/40.

Seventh pike in area

This is a project of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority which already operates the 183A tollroad in the northwest of the Austin area. TxDOT operates the 130 1-4, 45N and 45S, Loop 1 MoPac. And an investor concessionaire operates the 130 5&6 tollroad. On that basis the Manor Expressway is the seventh tollroad in the Austin metro area.

We're told some locals manage to mispronounce Manor as 'may-norr.'

If they want to call it that they need to amend its spelling to Maynore.  

Manor is properly pronounced 'manner' with a  soft 'a.'

As in: "To a manor born."

Manors are, after all, mannered places with never a harsh 'ay' - editor.


Bruce Byron of Austin comments:

"Now let it be said that Texans need not be lectured on pronouncing names.  It is pronounced "may-norr".  We have been perfectly able to pronounce places incorrectly to foreigners for years.

It is a local litmus test to detect Yankees and other foreigners. Besides since the road leads to Elgin ("ELL-gihn"), it is a timely improvement.
Sincerely, (a recovering Yankee and born again Texian)

TOLLROADSnews 2012-11-30

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