[Editor: This is the text of an October 19, 2016, news release from the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.]
Federal Court Denies Injunction
Construction of SH 45SW Begins
(Austin, Texas) — Today, the US District Court in Austin denied the request for an injunction that would have prevented the start of SH 45SW construction. In February 2016, Save Our Springs Alliance (SOS) and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal court attempting to stop construction of two projects that have already received environmental clearance – SH 45SW and the MoPac underpasses at Slaughter Lane and La Crosse Avenue, as well as the MoPac South Environmental Study. In September 2016, the plaintiffs took an additional step, requesting the court to issue an injunction to prevent construction of SH 45SW.
“The claims brought by SOS were previously litigated and decided more than 20 years ago,” said Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. “The SH 45SW environmental study followed state and federal regulations as required, and we have created a plan that exceeds all required environmental elements as a reflection of our community values.”
SH 45SW is an innovative, four‐lane toll road that will connect the southern end of MoPac with FM 1626. In addition to improved mobility, the project includes extensive water quality protection measures and bike and pedestrian facilities. When construction is complete, it will offer immediate relief to drivers in Hays and southern Travis counties. By redirecting commuter traffic off of Manchaca Road, Slaughter Lane and Brodie Lane, SH 45SW allows local roads to better serve drivers residing in surrounding neighborhoods.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the judge’s ruling not to stand in the way of SH 45SW construction,” said Commissioner Gerald Daugherty. “Travis County voters approved purchasing SH 45SW right‐of‐ way nearly 20 years ago, and we’ve been fighting to see it built ever since. This project will create a more direct route to MoPac, meaning neighborhood streets will see relief from the traffic congestion they’ve been suffering for far too long.”
Construction of the 3.6‐mile toll road will begin in November and is expected to take three years to complete. The Mobility Authority awarded construction of the $78 million project to McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. Hays and Travis counties have contributed $20 million towards the project; the Mobility Authority and TxDOT will fund the remaining costs with toll revenue.
In March 2015, SH 45SW received environmental clearance under a state Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ‐ a comprehensive document that fully evaluates and discloses the potential impacts of the project.
Said Heiligenstein, “The Mobility Authority is thankful for the ruling, and we are ready to continue our work delivering projects that will bring congestion relief to Central Texans.”
About the Mobility Authority
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is a local, independent government agency created in 2002 to improve the regional transportation system in Travis and Williamson Counties. The Mobility Authority implements innovative and sustainable transportation options to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in Central Texas. The Mobility Authority operates 183A in Williamson County and 290 Toll in east Austin. The agency is also constructing Express Lanes on the MoPac Expressway and an 8‐mile facility on US 183 in east Austin. For more information about the Mobility Authority, visit www.MobilityAuthority.com.
Dee Anne Heath
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority