Expressway News

May 23, 2019

| Multimodal Solutions | Woman of the Year

A Faster Connection to the Heart of Austin

You're invited to the 45SW Grand Opening Jubilee

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is bringing relief to South Austin with the new 45SW Toll Road. We invite you to join us in celebrating the upcoming completion of this reliable new connection between MoPac and FM 1626, with the 45SW Jubilee on Saturday, May 25 from 1-3 p.m. Weather permitting, the road is scheduled to open to traffic the following weekend, Saturday, June 1.

The free, community-wide celebration will be held on the new road, right on the Bear Creek Bridge – the most scenic vista on the roadway, located approximately halfway between FM 1626 and MoPac/Loop 1. The celebration kicks off at 1 p.m. and will feature live music, local food and refreshments, and activities for the whole family!
Enjoy some tasty treats from Austin’s own Burro Cheese Kitchen food truck and popsicles from Mom and Pops while listening to some live music by Murphy’s In Laws. For the young and young-at-heart, there will be hula hoops, carnival games, face painting, cornhole and craft activity stations!
Create your own personal GIF with custom props in a Boomerang Photo Booth. Be sure to check out the displayed construction equipment used for the 45SW project.
The new 45SW Toll Road was designed and constructed with environmental sensitivity at the forefront, in recognition of the region’s unique and sensitive natural resources. The new road is expected to save drivers up to 17 minutes in travel time, while enhancing mobility and safety along local neighborhood routes. It will feature two lanes in each direction, and provide drivers in northern Hays and southern Travis counties a more reliable route into the heart of Austin. You can learn more about the roadway at our website.

Light rain or shine: We will be monitoring the weather closely and will post any necessary weather updates to the official Jubilee Facebook event page and Mobility Authority Twitter account.

Directions and Parking: Please enter 45SW from FM 1626 to access the designated parking area. Parking opens at 12:30 p.m. Shuttle service will be provided by CapMetro.

May is National Bike Month! Go green and ride your bike to the event. While there, you can enjoy a leisurely ride exploring 45SW’s 4.5-mile shared use path. Riders can enter from either end of the corridor or from nearby neighborhoods that connect to the shared use path. Bike racks will be provided for bike parking.

Safety on MoPac:
Stay in Your Lane

A $200 traffic ticket could be in store for drivers who cross the double white lines or the white plastic delineator sticks to get into, or out of, the MoPac Express Lane.

The Mobility Authority hired additional Austin police officers to patrol all areas of MoPac this spring in response to an increased incidence of related accidents and numerous drivers reporting violations seen while commuting.

The hope is that enough enforcement will take place to disincentivize motorists from giving in to the temptation to cross the delineators at illegal and unsafe points. There are designated points at which to enter and exit, and drivers should adhere to those access limitations, while maintaining safe speeds and distance from other cars.

“Safety is an important factor in everything we do at the Mobility Authority,” said Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director. “Please make sure to do your part and abide by the rules of the road. Our cameras caught some of the crashes that have occurred and we decided to try to prevent additional crashes by launching an enforcement campaign.”

Over the past year, nearly 50 percent of crashes on MoPac are reported to have been caused by a contributing factor of following too closely, driver inattention, or excessive speed. Data shows us the 3 p.m. hour had the most crashes in both the Express Lane and general-purpose lanes, with similar numbers of crashes in the Express Lane at the 9 a.m. hour. 

In case of a minor accident, Heiligenstein says, drivers should move to safety and call 311 for assistance.

Enjoy the Road and Watch Out for Your Friends on Two Wheels

May has been proclaimed Motorcycle Safety Month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and National Bike Month by the League of American Bicyclists. We at the Mobility Authority want to encourage you to practice safety, whether you travel on two wheels or four.
Spring is the time of year when more Central Texas travelers are out on the open road savoring warm weather and beautiful roadside vistas.
Published accident statistics are not kind to motorcyclists and bicyclists, so the Mobility Authority urges all parties to be generous and respectful to each other whether you are driving a car or skimming the streets on your motorcycle or bicycle.
Here are just a few basic tips to make sure everyone arrives home safely:
Tips for All Drivers
  • Share the Road. Remember, the road doesn’t only belong to cars and trucks. Motorcyclists and bicyclists have just as much right on the roadway as any other vehicle, so long as they follow the rules of the road.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Because of their smaller sizes, motorcyclists and bicyclists can easily be overlooked, especially if they happen to be riding in one of your vehicle’s blind spots. Before turning or changing lanes, be sure to signal and look over your shoulder.
  • Give Motorcyclists and Bicyclists Plenty of Room. Even though they are smaller in size, it’s important to allow bicyclists and motorcycles enough room to travel safely. Give riders a full lane to travel in even if their vehicles only take up a portion of a lane. And be sure to allow at least four seconds of space between you and a motorcycle in case you both have to stop suddenly.
Tips for Motorcyclists
  • Drive Defensively. Motorcycles have the ability to accelerate faster and fit into tighter spaces than most other vehicles. But just because you can drive faster or weave through traffic doesn’t mean you should. Motorcycles are smaller, therefore more difficult to spot. Be courteous on the road, maintain the speed limit, and use your signals.
  • Wear Proper Gear. Always wear your helmet when you drive a motorcycle. Wearing a helmet could help save your life in case of an accident or collision. Get riding gear with padding to protect you if you fall. Invest in some good non-slip gloves, and boots or riding shoes that cover your ankles.
 Tips for Bicyclists
  • Follow the Law. Even though you are riding a bicycle, you still have the same responsibilities as any other driver on the road. You are required to ride with traffic, signal before turning, yield right-of-way, and obey any other rules of the road.
  • Be Predictable. Surprises on the road can cause accidents, especially for bicyclists. That’s why it’s always important to ride predictably. Don’t swerve between vehicles, always signal your intention to turn or change lanes, and check over your shoulder before turning.
  • Be Conspicuous. Always make yourself visible by wearing bright clothes. Use a white light on the front of your bike and a red light on the back. Reflectors on your bike and clothing also increase visibility to drivers. Make eye contact with other drivers to ensure they see you.
No matter what form of transportation you use to reach your destination, the Mobility Authority encourages you to consider these safety tips seriously.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists: You are Welcome Here

National Bike Month is used as a chance to showcase the many benefits of cycling and encourage more people to give it a try. There are many reasons to ride. During National Bike Month, the Mobility Authority urges Central Texans to check out our bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly accommodations.

The Mobility Authority supports pedestrians and bicyclists by allocating significant funds to build sidewalks, shared use paths, cross street connections and bike lanes alongside all our projects, wherever feasible. This ensures that mobility accommodations are available to those who pedal and walk to work, home and play. Currently, more than 70 lane miles of sidewalks and shared use paths are planned or in place across our regional roads and projects.
Multimodal Mobility Champion
In 2018, the Mobility Authority was recognized by Bike Texas as a leader in the industry when it comes to bicycle and pedestrian friendly accommodations on our projects. Our executive director, Mike Heiligenstein, received the Bike Texas Bike Builder award in 2018 for the Mobility Authority’s efforts to make Central Texas a more bike-friendly community.

To learn more about the facilities we have planned or in place across Central Texas, visit our website.

Mobility Authority’s Dee Anne Heath Named Transportation Industry’s “Woman of the Year”

The Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International, Heart of Texas Chapter, named Dee Anne Heath, Director of External Affairs for the Mobility Authority, “Woman of the Year” for 2018.
She received accolades for being an outstanding role model and contributing to the advancement of women and minorities in the transportation industry.
In 2018, under Dee Anne’s leadership, the Mobility Authority established MoveFWD, A Workforce Collaborative of Central Texas, as a means to advance the unemployed, underemployed, women, and minorities, while filling critical employment gaps.
The program helps disadvantaged people establish careers in the growing roadway construction and customer service industries. The agency collaborates closely with other local agencies and nonprofit organizations to identify and prepare candidates for skilled positions. 
“Dee Anne is an invaluable asset to our organization, and to the wider transportation community,” said Mike Heiligenstein, Executive Director for the Mobility Authority. “She helps showcase the merits of women in leadership positions because she is invested in her career, in the future of our agency and in our industry as a whole.”
Dee Anne has 27 years of experience in strategic brand communications, with a broad range of agency experience from national comprehensive advertising campaigns to grassroots campaigns. She has taught digital media and integrated communications campaigns classes at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, Dee Anne has served on the board of directors for the Alliance for Women in Media Austin Affiliate, and previously served as the vice president of communications on the Austin Advertising Federation’s board of directors.
Congratulations, Dee Anne!