By Kathi Bliss
After years of wondering, watching and waiting, Caldwell County residents will finally have the opportunity to drive on the long-discussed State Highway 130, which will open for traffic on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The controversial highway, seen as some as a harbinger of an economic boom for the area, and by others as a state-mandated blight, has been a source of both hope and friction for Caldwell County for years. Finally, though, residents will find out exactly what the high-speed highway has to offer.
SH130 has drawn publicity in recent weeks, as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has opted to set an 85 mph speed limit on the section the highway between I-10 near Seguin and SH45 near Mustang Ridge. The speed limit, some say, will encourage commuters to use the toll road at an expected 15 cents per mile, to shorten their commute time.
Others worry that TxDOT’s concurrent decision to lower the speed limit on Highway 183 to 55 mph is a ploy by the state to force drivers to pay the toll. A section of SH130 was built over the already-existing Highway 183, which will now act as an access road for the high-speed tollway.
Prior to the road opening for traffic, TxDOT and the SH130 Concession Company are hosting a community block party, and inviting residents to a Family Fall Festival on Oct. 20 from 10:30 a.m. – noon.
The event, which will include live music, children’s activities, free food and beverages and door prizes will be held on SH130, at the intersection of Highway 142 between Lockhart and Maxwell. In addition, the Main Street Market farmers market, traditionally held on the Caldwell County Courthouse Square, will move to SH130 for the event.
The SH130 Concession Company announced last week that tolls on the new road will be waived, at least for a period of time. Driving on SH130 will be free until Nov. 6, at which point the normal toll rates will be activated.
Both the Caldwell County Commissioners Court and the Lockhart City Council have recently passed resolutions asking TxDOT to reconsider the toll on the newest segments of the tollway, asking for tolls to be either reduced or waived entirely for Caldwell County commuters who will need to use the road to travel to and from work.
There was no indication at press time that a reduction or waiver of the tolls is being seriously considered by TxDOT.
For full coverage of the grand opening of SH130, including the Family Fall Festival, see next week’s Post-Register.