With the City of Austin growing rapidly, congestion and time spent in traffic were becoming a major issue for drivers. In order to address these changes, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began work on a $110 million project to provide some needed relief. The State Highway 45 Southwest Toll Road connects two major thoroughfares and a needed connection to Travis and Hays Counties to the south. The Toll Road also provides those living in the suburbs with an alternative route from the neighborhood streets. The project includes two highway lanes in each direction, as well as a 4.5-mile shared-use path – The 45SW trail. The trail connects to another of the city’s major urban trails to provide residents and visitors with transportation options and the ability to connect with the environment. The 45SW trail also provides the community with an opportunity to educate themselves on the local wildlife, plants, and habitats through newly updated signage and a virtual reality mobile app.
Since completion, TxDOT has seen a 32 percent reduction in travel volume – not only improving drive times, but the quality of life for this growing city.