The Texas Transportation Commission approved two grants for more than $153 million to jump-start several transportation projects for the Texas Dept. of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
The agencies will use the money to complete the $500-million Manor Expressway/U.S. 290 East project and accelerate work on four other projects: the MoPac Improvement Project (Loop 1), Oak Hill Expressway (U.S. 290 West), Manchaca Expressway (45SW) and Bergstrom Expressway (U.S. 183 South).
“We have been fortunate to receive the support of our Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and TxDOT, which have provided the seed money necessary to jump-start the project,” Steve Pustelnyk, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority spokesman, tells Texas Construction. “The Manor Expressway is yet another example of how local Regional Mobility Authorities can help address the national transportation funding crisis by leveraging state and local funds.”
The Mobility Authority is constructing the Manor Expressway interchange at U.S. 183 and is hiring a contractor to complete the remainder of the 6.2-mi project. Construction is expected to start by summer.
The Mobility Authority will use a $126.7-million portion of the TxDOT grant to help fund the project. The rest of the funding will come through the issuance of toll revenue bonds or other creative financing methods.
Because of funding limitations, TxDOT will provide the grant money over a three-year period between 2012 and 2014.
A $5.4-million portion of the TxDOT grant money will be used to complete an environmental study of the MoPac Improvement Project that was halted in 2007 due to funding issues. The Mobility Authority proposed constructing express lanes along an 11-mi stretch of MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin to Parmer Lane.
The Mobility Authority committed an additional $3.5 million in local toll revenue to expedite the environmental study, which is slated for completion in 2012. If the express lane concept is approved, the MoPac Improvement Project could be under construction by 2013.
The Manor Expressway will offer Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto and Georgetown an alternative route through the central business district of Austin.
“The Manor Expressway will connect our eastern beltway, SH 130, with I-35 and downtown Austin,” Pustelnyk says. “It will enhance mobility in a highly industrialized corridor of high-tech chip plants and major freight-hauling companies.”