Traffic jam? Travis County asks Hays County to stop work on SH 45 connector because it would bring too much traffic
The final link on the SH 45 Loop chain is approaching a roadblock.
Travis County Commissioners have asked Hays County Commissioners to halt the State Highway 45 expansion project, which would create a 3.5-mile stretch connecting I-35 to FM 1626, feeding South Mopac.
Travis County Commissioners said they haven't been part of the discussion, citing the impact that the "missing link" would have on the area's traffic and growth.
"Making the connection from I-35 to FM 1626 would effectively make Mopac an I-35 bypass, dramatically increasing vehicular and truck traffic," the letter read. "The traffic impacts of this decision by Hays County would have a profound and detrimental effect almost entirely on Austin and Travis County."
Commissioners also cited environmental concerns. With traffic increasing on Balcones Canyonlands Preserve lands, City of Austin Water Quality Protection lands, the Edwards Aquifer and endangered species habitat, Travis County said the area's water quality and environment are at greater risk.
Hays County's Position
But Hays County has a different perspective. Around 40% of the county's residents work in Austin, while around 20% of Texas State University's commuters come from Austin. To access Mopac, many of those metro residents rely on FM 1626—a two-lane rural roadway—to go to school or work, causing congestion in the South Austin neighborhood of Shady Hollow.
“What it will do is relieve the pressure on 1626, and some of these in some of the eastern parts of the county that will have that connection between 1626 and 35,” Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones told KXAN.
Travis County expressed concerns that the area would experience rapid growth if the 3.5-mile stretch is built. Citing Hays County's 60% growth from 2000 to 2010 and a Texas Transportation Institute study, the county said growth has already occurred. Now, they say it's time to play catch-up.
"SH 45 can be built with access restrictions that limit sprawl along the roadway. It can be built with all of the environmental protections our ingenuity can contrive. It can be built with all the associated green space, landscaping, and neighborhood protections we desire. But it must be built," Hays County's website said.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said he hopes to discuss the move between the courts and hear from the community. Becerra also said the Travis County letter will be discussed at the next Hays County Commissioners' Court meeting.
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🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway