TxDOT continues planning SH130
By LPR Staff
Plans for the widely-criticized and often-questioned State Highway 130 (SH130) continue to move steadily through Caldwell County.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), funding for the toll road intended to ease commuter traffic on IH-35 through the Austin-San Antonio corridor has not been fully acq
uired. Still, TxDOT is moving forward with their plans, building SH130 through Travis and Williamson counties at the rate of about one mile per month.
“They [TxDOT] are ready to start acquiring the right of way in Caldwell County in the next nine months or year,” said County Judge H.T. Wright. “We recently made the deal to take over FM 1386 in the county in exchange for our contribution to the right of way costs.”
Under the original proposals for SH130, Caldwell County was asked to contribute nearly $23 million to the project for right of way acquisition.
Wright said the county never agreed to that figure, and immediately started working toward a different solution.
“We said that we would provide any right of way that was donated,” Wright said. “But we knew we weren”t going to be able to come up with that kind of money. This seemed like the perfect solution, because they [TxDOT] are going to repave that road before they turn it over to us.”
In exchange for Caldwell County taking responsibility for maintenance of FM 1386, TxDOT will take responsibility for acquisition of right of way throughout Caldwell County.
Wright said he hopes the project will bring development to Caldwell County, but he also has concerns about the project.
“We need industry in the worst way,” he said. “We need to have jobs here that our population can fill. It”s possible that this will bring that kind of industry here – but I”m concerned that the route is going to make it a “bypass” of Lockhart.”
SH130 is currently planned to run along Highway 183 from Austin to FM 1185 north of Lockhart. At that point, it will diverge from 183 and go around Lockhart and then south.
Wright also expressed concern that residents that might be displaced by the project do not have all of the information they need.
“The other project, the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC35) might run along the same route in the southern portion of Caldwell County,” Wright said. “Some people that are expecting to lose maybe 500 feet for right of way might find that they lose 1,200 or more, if the roads run in the same footprint.”
Wright suggested that property owners in the southern path of SH130 be aware of the possible changes and educate themselves about TTC35.
“They [TxDOT] really aren”t talking about the project much right now,” he said. “If they”re building a mile a month, though, it”s coming. I know they”re committed to the project, but since they don”t have the whole thing funded, right now we have to wait and see.”
Wright is certain, though, that the state will start moving toward acquiring property in the near future.