SAN ANTONIO FREEWAY HISTORY
Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series
The full history of the freeway system is available on this site
Antonio Area Roads & More
State Highway 130 (Pickle
Interstate 35 was the only expressway tying the San
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
to local growth, NAFTA has put an additional strain on the corridor in
the form of dramatically increased international truck traffic.
alleviate the growing traffic problems on Interstate 35, a parallel
highway, SH 130, was built. This 91 mile expressway had
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
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
from US 290 to SH 71 near Bergstrom Airport, opened in mid
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.
5 and 6 were built under a Comprehensive Development Agreement by the
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.
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
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.
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
The existing railways go right through the hearts of the cities in the
I-35 corridor, causing recurring congestion problems. A
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
TxDOT approved increasing the speed limit on the original segments east
of Austin to 80 mph. In September 2012, approval was given
85 mph speed limit for Segments 5 and 6. This will be the
speed limit in the United States.
named after former US Representative J.J. Pickle who served the Austin
area from 1963 to 1995.