Accelerating Austin’s U.S. 290 East project – known as the Manor Expressway – moved ahead as the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority secured additional funding.
The Texas Transportation Commission approved a $31.6-million loan from the State Infrastructure Bank to purchase right-of-way and relocate utilities along a 1.4-mi stretch between U.S. 183 and Springdale Road.
The project, when combined with a new flyover interchange at U.S. 183, aims to improve traffic flow in the area. The completion of the roadway and the interchange is expected in 2013 at a total cost of $245 million.
“The U.S. 290 corridor is an industrial hub with many shipping companies and large employers,” Steve J. Pustelnyk, director of communications for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, told Texas Construction. “As a result, up to 20% of the vehicles on U.S. 290 are trucks. The Manor Expressway will offer improved efficiency to these companies and provide a safer faster route for commuters who also drive the corridor.”
Ultimately, the Manor Expressway will become a 6.2-mi tollway between U.S. 183 and Parmer Lane, just west of the city of Manor. It will also intersect with the SH 130 toll road, providing an alternative high-speed route between Williamson County and Central Austin.
The project will link the two highways “via a high-speed, non-stop route, completing a vital link in the regional transportation network,” Pustelnyk says.
The TTC expects the entire project to cost more than $623 million with its primary funding generated through the sale of toll revenue bonds. Once those bonds are sold, the Mobility Authority may pay off the State Infrastructure Bank loan. The project will include non-tolled frontage roads and a bicycle and pedestrian trail.
“Building the Manor Expressway as soon as possible will save money and relieve congestion sooner,” Pustelnyk says. “As a young transportation agency with limited financial resources, the Mobility Authority does not have enough cash to fund critical project development costs such as right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation. The loan will allow us to complete the preconstruction work necessary to sell bonds to fund the project and repay the loan.”
Additionally, as growth accelerates in eastern Travis County and Williamson County, the cost of property along U.S. 290 will continue to escalate and existing traffic congestion will increase, he adds.
An independent government agency aimed at improving the regional transportation system in Travis and Williamson counties, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority will begin constructing the flyover exchange at U.S. 183 by the end of 2009. The remainder of the project will be constructed in phases beginning in 2011.