SH 130 set to begin collecting tolls - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

SH 130 set to begin collecting tolls

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State Highway 130 is set to begin collecting tolls on the southern leg that recently opened with the fastest speed limit in the United States.

Every vehicle traveling up and down the new tollway is being watched by cameras. From 23 different locations images are transmit into a multi-million dollar command center near Hwy 21.

Computerized TV screens allow controllers to zoom in day and night.

"It's just a feed, a live feed of the road," said IT manager Jamie Gaylord.

The system does not record images, according to Gaylord, in order to protect privacy. During a tour FOX 7 took on Friday the cameras caught what appeared to be a problem near Lockhart.

"I have a stranded motorist on co 218 and the bridge," said the monitor from her control station

"It's especially important that at night when we can get coverage on people there are some parts of our roads that are dark and so if you're stranded in that area you want to know you feel safe," said Gaylord.

There have been late night encounters with wild pigs and other animals on the roadway. With a speed limit of 85 mph, warning signs were installed.

The sensors, placed at toll plazas, transmit pictures of cars for billing purposes also got an early test.

The day before the road opened high performance cars, traveling 170 mph, tried to beat the system. All 18 passes were detected by the electronics and manual backups.

"It's amazing how fast John Hennessey can make a car go, it was exciting to see it was also exciting to see our technology work," said tollway spokesman Chris Lippincott.

Tolls will begin Nov 11th. Traveling the new four mile section with a TX-tag will cost a little more than $6. The full 90 stretch between Seguin and Georgetown costs about $12.

The tollway will face its next big test next week. The F1 Race is on tap and SH 130 will be a major route in and out of the track.

"I think the most important thing is we are going to see more abandoned vehicles I think we may see from segment 4 to our section some push back by traffic," said Gaylord.

To manage additional personnel will be brought in, starting Wednesday, to monitor road conditions.

But not everyone is happy with this road. A boycott is being planned for Monday. Members of two groups that opposed the public-private venture that built the tollway want this to be the last project of its kind.

"And really its offensive to a whole lot of people that our politicians feel like our Texas roads, belong to them somehow, and they can go hock them up on the open market and sell them off to the highest bidder on Wall Street," said Terri Hall with the Texas TURF organization.

Any indication of the success of a boycott and the tollway project itself will not be known until quarterly reports are submitted next year.

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