Texas 45 Southeast TR opens, completing tolled bypass of I-35 Austin
By Peter Samuel
State Highway 45 Southeast tollroad (TR) opened today May 7, the fifth pike in the Austin Texas metro area. A 12km (7.5 mile) 4-lane expressway it provides improved east-west connectivity in the southern part of the Texas' capital area, as well as being the final leg, in combination with SH130 tollroad, of an eastern bypass or half-belt route on the eastside of the 1m pop metro area.
45SE TR comes east off I-35 in the Buda/San Leanna area 19km (12 miles) south of downtown Austin. It heads rather straight to meet TX/SH130 TR near its junction with US183 at Mustang Ridge.
2+2 lanes it crosses several creeks and has two simple diamond interchanges with local roads before reaching 130 TR.
The new pike is built with a wide median to allow widening inward, which avoids the need to adjust ramps. A third intermediate interchange is provided for in future construction.
No frontage roads
45SE TR is unusual for an expressway in Texas in that it has no frontage roads. This is probably justified to frontage road-loving Texans by the presence of a 2 lane FM1327 parallel to the new tollroad and barely half a mile away to the north.
45SE TR is a project of Texas DOT's Turnpike Division.
Construction which began in mid-July 2007 was by Balfour Beatty/TJ Lambrecht. Toll systems were provided by Raytheon under their umbrella contract with TxDOT for toll systems.
Project cost of 45SE was $142m.
The project was delayed a couple of years by environmentalist objectors.
45SE is all electronic tolling (AET) or cashless using a combination of transponder tolling under the TxTag brand - a TransCore sticker tag - or camera imaging of license plate and pay-by-mail.
Free trips for the rest of May
Trips on 45SE are free for all this month.
June 1 toll collection begins and TxTag customers will pay half toll or 50c for the length of the road.
July 1 onward TxTag car customers will pay $1.00 for the full trip, cash customers $1.33.
That's 13.5c/ mile (8.4c/km) with the tag, and 18c/mile (11c/km) the video toll or pay-by-mail.
5-axle tractor trailers will pay 4x the car rate..
At ramp toll points on the intermediate interchanges the car tolls will be 67c TxTag and 90c pay-by-mail.
There is a mainline toll plaza close to the center point of the 45SE and an west facing pair of ramp tolls at North Turnerville Rd west of the mainline plaza and an east-facing pair of ramp tolls at FM1625 east of the mainline toll plaza. (see map at the bottom of the article)
Costs of the full bypass of central Austin doing the 88km (55 miles) Buda to Georgetown on 45SE and 130 1-4 will be $5.40 for a car and $25.60 for a 5 axle tractor trailer.
This is the first tollroad in the Austin area to open cashless or AET.
CTRMA's 183A tollroad in the northest of the Austin area opened with one mainline plaza open road electronic tolling plus cash to the sides. It converted to AET late last year with closure of the cash lanes.
Others in Austin area
Other tollroads in the Austin metro area also known as Central Texas are:
- SH45 North, TxDOT
- Loop 1, TxDOT
- SH130 segments 1 thru 4, TxDOT
- 183A, CTRMA
Under or close to construction are:
- Manor Expressway (US290 East) by CTRMA
- a northward extension of 183A by CTRMA
- 130 segments 5 and 6 by Cintra concessionaire
A picture of TxDOT roadside wildflowers nearby.
AMENDED PROJECT COST 2009-05-08 16:00