Most drivers in Austin know we have a major traffic problem, now officials have another way of making things run smoother. Saturday the Manor Expressway opened with a big celebration.
It's a new express way of traveling for residents in Eastern Travis County. "It's wonderful. This is a dream come true for us," says Ted Weiser, area resident. The Manor Expressway will also serve beyond that. "It's going to increase the connectivity in the region with US183, with US290, with SH130, and with I35. It's going to be an important connector between SH130 and I35," says Mike Heiligenstein, Regional Mobility Authority, executive director. The 6.2 miles will include 6 toll and 6 non-toll roads. Many residents say the wait was well worth it. "I didn't think it was at first, I was kind of simple-minded. I was okay with having maybe 3 or 4 lanes on the side but it's actually kind of nice. It ended up being a really nice project that they completed," says Erica Bouldin, Manor resident. The idea has been on the regional plans for about 25 years but funding hadn't been available until now. 60 to 70 percent of this facility is paid for by tolls. "We know there's a demand for this. We have no concerns about the financing portion of this. We think it will be very viable and help build other facilities in the region," says Heiligenstein. Statistics show traffic on 290 East has increased by more that 78 percent since 1990, making it one of the busiest corridors in Central Texas. In 1996 the idea of the Manor Expressway was created. Now that it's open, it's expected to bring new businesses and nearly 2,000 jobs to Eastern Travis County. "We're on the roads every day. Our primary travel times are Friday through Sunday. Having the toll roads has greatly helped our business, being able to get from point A to point B faster," says Jason Magdalena, Bounce Around Austin, owner. For those who choose to go on the toll, the process will be faster. Drivers won't have to slow down or stop to pay, they can use TxTag or the pay-by-mail program. "I think it's going to be a work-saver on those days I'm running late. So yea, I'm definitely going to use it then," says Bouldin.