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Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series here. The full history of the freeway system is available on this site here.

San Antonio Area Roads & More
State Highway 130
(Pickle Parkway)

This page last updated October 24, 2012


SH 130 mapBefore 2012, Interstate 35 was the only expressway tying the San Antonio/Austin region together and, as a consequence, it is the busiest inter-metro Interstate in Texas and is overloaded on many sections.  Most traffic counts have increased well over 100% since 1990.  All counts in the corridor now exceed 80,000 vehicles per day, with over 100,000 VPD now reported at the southern and northern ends of the corridor as well as in New Braunfels and San Marcos.  In addition to local growth, NAFTA has put an additional strain on the corridor in the form of dramatically increased international truck traffic.

To help alleviate the growing traffic problems on Interstate 35, a parallel highway, SH 130, was built.  This 91 mile expressway had been on the drawing boards since the late '80s but looked to be dead a decade later.  However, the surge in traffic along the I-35 corridor during the late '90s sparked a renewed interest in the route.  While development of the project continued as a regional project, state officials also proposed including most of the SH 130 corridor as part of the TTC-35 route of the now-defunct Trans-Texas Corridor project.  When the TTC was abandoned in 2009, development of the remaining segments continued as a standalone regional toll project.

The first two segments of SH 130, from I-35 at Georgetown east around Round Rock to US 290 east of Austin, opened in late 2006.  The third segment, from US 290 to SH 71 near Bergstrom Airport, opened in mid 2007.  The fourth segment, from SH 71 to US 183 near Mustang Ridge south of Austin, opened in 2008.  The remaining 40 mile section from Mustang Ridge to Lockhart and from there to I-10 near Seguin, known as segments 5 and 6, began construction in April 2009 opened to traffic on October 24, 2012.

Segments 5 and 6 were built under a Comprehensive Development Agreement by the SH 130 Concession Company LLC, a consortium of Spanish infrastructure company Cintra and San Antonio-based construction giant Zachary American Infrastructure, who will operate the tollway for 50 years under a revenue-sharing concession agreement with the state.  The remainder of the SH 130 tollway is operated by TxDOT as part of the Central Texas Turnpike System.

Unlike the first four segments, segments 5 and 6 do not have any toll booths; all toll collections will be electronic.  (Toll booths are now being removed from the original four segments.)  Toll rates on segments 5 & 6 are 15 cents per mile for passenger vehicles with a Texas toll tag including TxTag, NTTA, or HCTRA.  For vehicles without toll tags, cameras will record the license plate number and the owner will be billed by mail.

There has also been discussion about including a future railroad right-of-way in the SH 130 corridor.  Freight train traffic, like its counterpart truck traffic, has also increased substantially in the region.  The existing railways go right through the hearts of the cities in the I-35 corridor, causing recurring congestion problems.  A railway along SH 130 would provide a rail bypass, thus reducing congestion in the cities on the corridor.  This would also free the existing rail line for a planned San Antonio-Austin commuter rail system. 

In early 2012, TxDOT approved increasing the speed limit on the original segments east of Austin to 80 mph.  In September 2012, approval was given for an 85 mph speed limit for Segments 5 and 6.  This will be the highest speed limit in the United States.

The route is named after former US Representative J.J. Pickle who served the Austin area from 1963 to 1995.

Additional information

My SH 130
Lone Star (LStar) Rail District (Austin-San Antonio Commuter Rail)
Austin-San Antonio Corridor Commuter Rail Study

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