San Antonio – Interstate 35 has often been called the Main Street of Texas and has the traffic to prove it.
For freight companies, time spent in traffic means money lost. As more construction projects get underway on I-35 between San Antonio and Austin, delays are only expected to increase.
The increasing congestion, along with new rebates, may cause freight companies to take another look at the privately operated stretch of State Highway 130 -- at least that’s the hope of SH 130 Concession Company CEO Doug Wilson.
“One of the main reasons why SH 130 was expanded and built the way it is, is to draw some of the truck traffic off of I-35,” Wilson said. “This is something that will certainly improve traffic, make it less congested but also make it safer.”
The company operates the stretch of the highway between Seguin and Mustang Ridge in Travis County. SH 130 recently announced a new partnership with the Texas Trucking Association to offer rebates and incentives for companies to use the toll road. Currently, the cost for an 18-wheeler to travel the entire 40-mile stretch is $31.40 with an electronic toll tag. TxDOT operates the toll road north of there to Georgetown.
“Frankly, as congested as I-35 tends to be through the Austin area, it’s one of the things that we wanted to focus on for those individuals, those carriers that really are just trying to get through I-35,” said John Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association. “And if they can go around Austin, that becomes a viable option for them.”
Some local companies have already started to use SH 130 more, even though it may add a few miles coming out of San Antonio.
“If there’s a lot of congestion south of Austin down to the New Braunfels area, then we can take SH 130 farther and get to I-10,” said Adam Blanchard, president of Double Diamond Trucking. “It’s great to have an option available to our drivers and to our industry when we can bypass heavy congestion because that results in safer roadways for everybody.”
More drivers, commercial and otherwise, are using SH 130 than before the pandemic, according to Wilson. He said while some maintenance work is planned for the highway, no major shutdowns due to construction are expected in the coming months.
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