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Expressway News

April 16, 2020



Our Earth Day celebrations will look different this year. Displays of environmental stewardship will be reduced to those activities that can be performed in the safe space of our backyards. Messages of eco-responsibility will be only be shared and tweeted online. And to some, it may seem that our collective voice has been dampened for this year’s celebrations. 

We don’t believe this to be true.

In our united efforts to stay home, our impact this Earth Day will be more profound than ever. As our world seemingly comes to a standstill, there are examples across the globe of ways in which the earth has been healing itself. It’s a visible reminder that our personal health and economic vitality is contingent upon the health of our environment.
At first glance, ‘sustainable mobility’ seemingly describes opposing goals. But too often we compartmentalize our environmental concerns from our transportation needs and vice versa. It is by actively engaging in the space where these two intertwine, however, that real value and real solutions are generated. Earth Day is a reminder to us all that our responsibility to our environment and to our community goes beyond a single day – it requires taking on the arduous tasks and conversations year-round.

As an agency charged with enhancing quality of life and protecting the environment through innovative and sustainable transportation options, the Mobility Authority is working in this space regularly, balancing the need for new infrastructure with the preservation of the environment. Specifically, this means expanding people’s views on transportation to understand and embrace the role that our environment plays in achieving mobility solutions and overall regional health. It means mindfully incorporating environmental stewardship from conception of Mobility Authority projects through construction and beyond.

And doing this work successfully requires bridging expertise and uniting resources. TreeFolks is a local organization educating and empowering our community through planting and caring for trees. It is the only nonprofit dedicated to community reforestation in Austin – and the benefit of trees to our environment and our community cannot be underestimated. Planting trees is one of the most efficient and cost-effective means of capturing carbon. Since its founding in Austin 30 years ago, Treefolks has planted more than 3 million trees across Central Texas.

This year, the Mobility Authority and TreeFolks are celebrating a prosperous 5-year partnership.  Together, we examine every opportunity to preserve and expand our urban tree canopy here in Central Texas and along Mobility Authority project corridors. It is through this partnership, in fact, that we’ve provided more than a dozen educational classes and tree planting events, and have planted nearly 10,000 trees throughout Central Texas.
TreeFolks tree planting events sponsored by the Mobility Authority
Now more than ever, collaboration across private, public, and non-governmental entities, along with citizen participation, is required to develop sustainable solutions. 

TreeFolks, for example, has built a support network of community, government, and corporate entities in addition to thousands of volunteers and community groups. Through these partnerships, they’ve grown their organization to offer regular, year-round educational workshops, reforestation services, tree giveaways, and consulting, and we will be able to plant another million trees in Austin in the coming decade.

On the 183 South Project, the project team worked with the community to identify large oaks trees along the corridor that would be nurtured and protected during construction, according to Best Management Practices developed in collaboration with local preservation groups, the City of Austin, and the Texas Department of Transportation. And on just the 183 South Project alone, the Mobility Authority will plant more than 7,000 trees within the project limits, providing an economic investment of $5.6 million to the east Austin community.

Together, the Mobility Authority and TreeFolks believe that mobility and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, but rather inextricably linked responsibilities. And it’s only by uniting resources and building partnerships that we’re able to lean into these complex issues and reimagine what ‘sustainable mobility’ means for Central Texas
Questions or Concerns about your Toll Bill?
 Contact us at 833-762-8655 or visit our website. We're here to help!


Next week, the Mobility Authority joins other transportation and highway agencies in participating in National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), April 20 – 24.  Each spring, NWZAW is held by the Federal Highway Administration to bring coast-to-coast attention to motorist and worker safety issues in highway construction zones.

We at the Mobility Authority consider roadway safety a year-round priority, seeking out opportunities to expand practices and implement initiatives that protect both workers and road users. This past fall, the Mobility Authority outfitted 45SW with a wrong-way driving detection system to alert drivers and law enforcement of wrong-way movement. In addition, Travis County has enlisted the services of the Mobility Authority to expedite the delivery of the Elroy Road and Ross Road safety projects as part of the county’s Capital Improvement Program.
But as our region continues to grow, so does the number of roadway work zones. Driving in and around work zones requires motorists to constantly be alert and prepared for changes to the conditions that they are used to seeing – traffic lanes may be closed, shifted, speed limits may be reduced, and people may be working on or near the roadway.
With the various highway projects being performed across Central Texas, including the Mobility Authority’s extensive renovation of 183 South on Austin’s east side from US 290 to SH 71, as well as the 290/130 Flyovers Project at the interchange of US 290 and SH 130, we want to continue to emphasize and promote worker and driver safety. We recommend following (and sharing) these important safety tips:

Plan ahead. Expect delays, plan ahead, and leave early to reach your destination on time. Avoid work zones altogether when possible by using alternate routes. The Mobility Authority shares construction alerts for our projects under construction via social media, newsletters, and project websites. Sign up for updates on the 183 South Project here or the 290/130 Flyovers Project here

Obey road crews and signs. When approaching a work zone, watch for construction vehicles, flaggers, cones, barrels, and signs to warn you and direct you where to go.

Slow Down. Look for signs indicating the speed limit through the work zone and follow the posted speed. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and watch for sudden stoppages.

Stay Alert. Keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.

Move over. Most state move-over laws apply when passing work crews and official vehicles parked on the shoulder with flashing warning lights. 

Watch for large vehicles. Use caution around large vehicles. Large vehicles have a slower reaction time, so don’t make sudden lane changes in front of trucks and watch for construction vehicles and equipment turning onto the road from the work zone.
Follow the Mobility Authority on Facebook and Twitter for more driving tips. 
To download a fact sheet on Dangers of the Work Zone, click here.


While families are doing their part to help contain the spread of COVID-19, parents are adjusting to a new reality of juggling the stresses of work and childcare. In an effort to make this time a little easier on parents, the Mobility Authority has developed a few activities to help keep your little ones engaged and entertained.

Our 45SW Trail located along the 45SW Toll Road celebrates the rich history and natural treasures of the Texas Hill Country and Edwards Aquifer, a region we are committed to protecting – and we’re pleased to offer this downloadable coloring and activity book inspired by the trail and its educational signs.

Last year, we released an augmented reality (AR) mobile app to help tell the story of the region based on trail signs located along the path. Since you may not be able to get out to the trail right now, we decided to bring the trail to you!

Simply download the free app, Trail Explorer by CTRMA, in your phone’s app store to give your family a fun and interactive experience! Follow the directions in the app and use your phone’s camera to trigger the augmented reality animations from the brackets found in these images. Scan right from your computer or tablet screen or print from your home printer. Imagine a live oak tree growing in your living room or a mosasaur swimming in your backyard!

Tag the Mobility Authority on social media in any pictures you snapped using the app or of your coloring book creations for a chance to win a 45SW Trail prize pack!
Need more information?
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