71 Toll aims to “Cut the Commute” for thousands of drivers daily
AUSTIN – TxDOT, in coordination with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and McCarthy Building Companies, is pleased to announce the opening of the 71 Toll Project near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III, CTRMA Board of Directors Chairman Ray Wilkerson, ABIA Director of Aviation Jim Smith and McCarthy Building Companies Executive Vice President Kurt Knebel made special remarks at today’s ceremony, followed by the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
71 Toll is part of the SH 71 Express Project that broke ground in January 2015. Project improvements include two new toll lanes (one in each direction), the re-aligning of FM 973 at SH 71, pedestrian and bicycle enhancements, the widening of Presidential Boulevard at SH 71, and maintaining and improving the current number of non-tolled general purpose lanes. These improvements are expected to cut the commute for thousands of drivers on a daily basis and make accessing ABIA a more seamless process.
“Improving safety and mobility are the most important transportation needs for the region,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Austin said. “With the 71 Toll project, we are able to accomplish both of these objectives, making it easier for traffic to move through the area and ensuring safety prevails for all users and modes of travel.”
As construction has progressed, drivers along the project corridor have been able to use the new east and westbound toll lanes free-of-charge as detour routes. With the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the CTRMA will begin tolling operations on Feb. 28. The 71 toll lanes will utilize all-electronic, cashless tolling technology. Tolls for this bypass roadway will be:
Drivers will have a choice whether or not to use the tolled lanes. The same number of taxpayer-funded, non-tolled SH 71 travel lanes that are available today will remain. Drivers wishing to use the 71 toll lanes will be able to bypass the FM 973 and SH 130 intersections, making this an ideal route for those traveling to and from Bastrop and other central Texas communities. Drivers on the non-tolled general purpose lanes will continue through the FM 973 and SH 130 signalized intersections.
“Our partnership with TxDOT protects economic vitality by connecting communities and commerce, and closing the gap between affordable housing and employment centers,” said CTRMA Board of Directors Chairman Ray Wilkerson. “The 71 Toll Project is a great example of how we are leveraging existing corridors to affect real change on our Central Texas roadways.”
Today’s ribbon-cutting marks a significant milestone for TxDOT and the CTRMA. While some minor work will continue on the project corridor, drivers will see a vast improvement in travel times in the area. Drivers can continue to stay up-to-date on the project by visiting www.sh71express.com, where they can sign up for e-blasts and view project details and progress photos.
About the SH 71 Express Project
The SH 71 Express Project is a $139 million design-build roadway construction project by TxDOT to enhance safety and reduce congestion and travel time along the SH 71 corridor. Construction improvements include the addition of two new toll lanes (one in each direction) between Presidential Boulevard and SH 130, construction of bridges over FM 973 and SH 130, construction of connecting ramps between the new toll lanes and the mainlanes of SH 71 and SH 130, and the widening of SH 71 between Presidential Boulevard and FM 973.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.