Toll road expansion plans worry Del Valle residents
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The stretch of Highway 71 between the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and toll SH-130 is known to be a traffic nightmare, often becoming a parking lot during rush hour.
Thursday, the Texas Department of Transportation and other partners announced a plan to alleviate that congestion.
A new road expansion project would allow drivers to get from San Antonio to Waco, without having to drive through Austin.
"People coming from the north, Waco, Georgetown--people coming from the south, Seguin--they'll be able to take SH-130, get off of SH-130 and go on to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport or on into Austin, uninterrupted by traffic," Sen. Kirk Watson said.
The convenience will come with a price, however, the project includes the addition of tolled express lanes on Highway 71 that will stretch from SH-130 to just before Highway 183.
The news has some Del Valle residents worried.
"It's all about money is what it is. The lower people on the food chain have to survive,” Del Valle resident Jack Terry said. “It's hard enough with gas. It's what $3.60, $3.70, now you've got to pay to drive?”
Frontage road access will be free, but that doesn't ease worries for people like Michael Hall.
"You can stay on the frontage road, but you're going to hit signals, and if you're trying to commute, that's going to slow down their commute," Dell Valle resident Michael Hall said.
It's estimated the project will cost $141 million, $60 million of which will come from SH-130 tolls.