November 7, 2018

Expressway News

A Fall Update From The Mobility Authority 

Mobility Authority wins Environmental Champion Award for SH 45SW Project 

We are honored to be the recipient of the 2018 Brookfield Residential Environmental Champion Award by the Austin Chamber of Commerce for our investment in sustainability, innovation, and leadership in the transportation industry. Our most noteworthy demonstration of that commitment is the SH 45SW project, a 3.6-mile toll road under construction in northern Hays and southern Travis counties. The project’s innovative engineering design concepts and carefully monitored environmental compliance practices set it apart from others in the region and the wider transportation industry. 
The new bypass route, which is nearing completion ahead of schedule, is being constructed using Best Management Practices for water quality protection meant to manage and improve the quality of stormwater runoff while reducing pollutants from entering streams and rivers. Our industry-leading model for environmental compliance exceeds industry standards and ensures protection of the sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. 


Members of the Mobility Authority and the SH 45SW project team receive the Environmental Champion Award at a ceremony hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce earlier this year
To enhance multimodal mobility, the SH 45SW project includes a shared use path along the entire length of the project corridor that was designed to complement the regional Violet Crown Trail. The shared use path will feature a shaded “Hill Country Classroom” where cyclists and pedestrians may rest while viewing maps, and wayfinding and interpretive signage. For more project information, please visit
Join our Open House on the Extension of 183A Toll 

For us at the Mobility Authority, tomorrow’s mobility challenges are today’s priorities. With unprecedented population growth in Williamson County, traffic volumes along US 183 are anticipated to increase by 166 percent over the next 25 years.

To ensure that our roadway network can meet the demands of that future growth, we are proposing to extend the 183A Toll road northward from Hero Way to 1.1 miles north of SH 29. These improvements, which are Phase III of the 183A system, will help alleviate future congestion, save commuters time and provide a reliable travel option.

As part of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Environmental Assessment for this project is currently underway. A public Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the Leander VFW 10427. For those unable to attend the in-person meeting, a concurrent Virtual Open House will also be available online at This website will house the Open House materials and exhibits starting on or before November 14 for the public to view materials, and submit questions and/or comments.

To access the Virtual Open House and get more information on the public Open House, please visit We value your input!

The 183 South Project: Preserving a Piece of History 

The Montopolis Steel Truss Bridge 
Last month, Austin’s Montopolis Steel Truss Bridge was decommissioned from vehicular use so that the iconic structure can be rehabilitated and preserved for bicycle and pedestrian use. To celebrate this milestone, we recorded the final motorized vehicle traveling over the bridge, driven by Mobility Authority Chairman Ray Wilkerson with State Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Mobility Authority Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein.

Click the image above to view video footage of the last ride over the bridge 
Constructed in 1938 by Vincennes Steel Corporation, the Montopolis bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. It stands today as an important historic landmark at the forefront of the Montopolis neighborhood’s legacy.

“As Central Texans, we’re proud of the Montopolis Bridge and what it represents for our region,” says Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director for the Mobility Authority. “We know this structure once served as the only connection between the Montopolis neighborhood and our capital city’s downtown core. Preserving its character and historical significance has been our priority from the outset. We are excited that this component of the project will improve safety, mobility and accessibility for Austin residents, travelers, and visitors to the region.”

In the coming months, 183 South project crews will begin rehabilitating the bridge by abating the old lead paint and adding a fresh new coat of paint (without lead), as well as completing some structural repairs and enhancements. During lead paint abatement, bicycle and pedestrian access interruptions will occur for periods of time to protect the public from exposure.

Partnering with TreeFolks to Expand the Tree Canopy

Our longtime sponsorship of TreeFolks, a Central Texas non-profit committed to tree planting and education, is aligned with our mission to preserve our region’s natural resources. We are proud to support the meaningful work they do to expand our urban tree canopy here in Central Texas.
Our 183 South project team recently partnered with TreeFolks, AISD, and City of Austin to expand the tree canopy at Pecan Springs Elementary, located along our project corridor. Together with City of Austin, the 183 South Project sponsored the installation of an irrigation system for the school. Last month, we held a community tree planting event at the school where the school principal and staff joined project team members and TreeFolks staff to plant 15 trees in the schoolyard.

The TreeFolks mission is to empower Central Texans to build stronger communities through planting and caring for trees. Planting at schools is particularly important because it creates places for kids to naturally congregate. This encourages more quality time spent outdoors, and in turn, greater exposure to natural greenspaces, which promotes cognitive development and reduces the risk of childhood obesity, attention disorders and depression in children.
For TreeFolks, watering is often the primary barrier to realizing that mission. Pecan Springs Elementary School previously did not have a watering system in place, so the new irrigation system we provided will keep the newly planted trees watered throughout the year, greatly increasing their chances for survival.
To learn more about the meaningful work of TreeFolks, visit their website.