The Central Texas Turnpike System is a multipurpose, mixed delivery set of toll roads and interchanges that will cost an estimated $3.6bn.

This system of four interconnecting roads in the greater Austin area was completed during the fall of 2008.


The sponsors for the Central Texas Turnpike System are the Texas Department of Transport (TxDOT) and the Texas Turnpike Authority (TTA). About $800m was sourced from a US Department of Transport TIFIA direct loan, with $700m being sought from the Texas Transportation Commission.

Almost $500m in funds and rights of way was contributed by the local regions, including Travis County, Williamson County, the City of Austin and the City of Round Rock. Additional funds came from bonds sold by the TTA and will also be collected by toll revenues.

Project overview and contractors

The Central Texas Turnpike System is divided into four main projects:

  • SH 45: 13 miles, costing $480m
  • Loop 1: 3 miles, costing $125m (six lanes running from Parmer to SH 45 north were opened in the third quarter of 2006)
  • US 183A: 11.6 miles, costing $238m (runs from US 183 to RM 620 to US 183 north of Leander was opened in March 2007)
  • SH 130: 90 miles, costing $1.5bn (with Section 5 and 6 opened in October 2012).

Zachry Construction and joint venture partner Gilbert Construction were awarded the contract to construct the SH 45, US 183A roadway, the Loop 1 extension to the future SH 45, and a four-level T-interchange to connect SH 45 to US 183A. Austin Bridge and Road is a construction contractor on SH 45.

By far the biggest project in the Central Texas Turnpike System is the SH 130. The consortium Lone Star Infrastructure (LSI) was contracted to design, construct and maintain the 90-mile highway. LSI is a joint venture between Fluor Corporation, Balfour Beatty Construction and TJ Lambrecht Company.

Other contractors include: Edelman (public information and outreach); DMJM+Harris, an AECOM company, leading the design team, which also included S&B Infrastructure, PE Structural Consultants, CTL/Thompson, PSI, Unintech Consulting Engineers, Yvonne Newman Engineering, Turner Collie & Braden and Menon Consortium.

OR Colan & Associates, working on behalf of TxDOT, were involved in land acquisition for the SH 130, and Macias & Associates were responsible for surveying and mapping. Hicks & Company provided a broad range of environmental management and planning services. TBE Group was responsible for minimising the need for utility relocation and eliminating disruptions in utility services

“The biggest project in the Central Texas Turnpike System is the SH 130.”

Bridgefarmer & Associates provided quality assurance for the design process on SH 130. OTHON, Landtech Consultants and Terra-Mar were consultant engineers to the design project. Atkins-Benham was contracted to support signalisation and traffic control for the design quality control team.

During the construction of SH 130, Raba Kistner Infrastructure served as the construction quality assurance firm, monitoring environmental compliance and performing construction inspections and materials testing throughout the construction process.

VMS provided asset management operations. Project advisers include: Dan Rauscher; Locke Liddell Sapp; Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott; HDR; PBS&J; HNTB; and TC&B.

State Highway 45

The SH 45 north extends from Ridgeline Boulevard, which is west of US 183 heading east towards the SH 130. The road has four lanes and has interchanges at US 183, Loop 1, I-35 and SH 130. The eastern and western portions of SH 45 north from Loop 1 to RM 620 opened in the third quarter of 2006.

The final part of SH 45N was finally opened in spring 2007. This part of the road system now provides relief of congestion on Loop 1 and other surrounding roadways by giving a better route between northern Travis and southern Williamson counties.

Related project

Central Texas Turnpike System, Texas, United States of America

The Central Texas Turnpike System is a multipurpose, mixed delivery set of toll roads and interchanges that will cost an estimated $3.6bn.

State Highway 130

The first 49-mile segment of State Highway 130 (located east of I-35 through Williamson and Travis counties) was constructed on a five-year schedule and was completed in April 2008. The four-lane project was constructed in four segments:

  • Segment 2 (from US 79 near Hutto to US 290 near Manor) opened in October 2006
  • Segment 1 (from I-35 near Georgetown, Texas to US 79) opened in December 2006
  • Segment 3 (US 290 to SH 71) was completed and opened by September 2007
  • Segment 4 (SH 71 to US 183 near Mustang Ridge, Texas) opened in April 2008.

The project included 30 million cubic yards of earth, 1.7 million tonnes of asphalt paving and 2.7 million tonnes of concrete. In addition, there are 119 bridges comprising 350,000ft² of steel and 5 million square feet of concrete.

Also included in the project are five interchanges (I-35, US 79, SH45 North, US 290 and SH 71).The road is being expanded to a six-lane road with a light rail line running between the carriageways.

Construction of SH45 Southeast began in the summer of 2007 and was completed in May 2009. Interchanges along SH 45SE is located at I-35, North Turnersville Road, RM 1625, and SH 130/US 183.

Segments 5 and 6 of SH 130 comprise of a 40-mile section. Construction started in April 2009, and completed in October 2012. Segment 5 bypasses the city of Lockhart running parallel to US 183 and Segment 6 runs from US 183 to Interstate 10, passing the City of Lockhart to the west.

Over 1,100 workers are employed on SH 130, including design engineers, environmental specialists, surveyors, construction teams and admin support.

SH 130 design ‘theme’

“The landscaping of SH 130 follows a natural theme, with Texas wildflowers, native plants of the Blackland Prairie and native Texas trees.”

It was important when developing the aesthetic design of the SH 130 that it was distinctive, memorable, safe, low maintenance and blended in with the natural environment. Regional characteristics considered included the earth tone colours of the surrounding environment, the use of limestone, regional building patterns and styles, and indigenous vegetation.

Consistency of the theme was achieved using a standardised palette of materials, colours and shapes, and landscape materials that reinforced the natural character of the corridor while preserving as much existing vegetation as possible. The designers’ challenge was to develop standards that could be used throughout the project, yet with sufficient flexibility to satisfy aesthetic, budgetary and functional expectations.

Some design elements that were used throughout the SH 130 included:

  • Each rectangular column at the interchanges, along with retaining walls, has an ashlar finish (ashlar is a type of stone form liner that resembles a limestone wall)
  • At major interchanges, the two colours used are terracotta and buff
  • The end caps for each column along the SH 130 have a star as the symbol
  • Sign supports consist of square columns with an ashlar finish

The landscaping of SH 130 follows a natural theme, with Texas wildflowers, native plants of the Blackland Prairie and native Texas trees. Also incorporated are some elements with cultural significance, such as cedar fencing and rubble stone walls.


SH 130 is a toll road, and the cost to drive along it is approximately $1.50 and approximately $0.74 for SH 45N/Loop 1. With the use of an electronic toll tag, called TxPass, motorists will receive a discounted rate. TxPass is a transponder device developed by TxDOT that is mounted on the inside windscreen of a vehicle. TxPass is also valid on other toll roads in the state.