Transportation
7:23 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Toll Break to Pull Big Rigs Off I-35?

If you drive on I-35, state transportation officials hope you’ll see fewer big trucks next month than you do today.

The state Transportation Commission approved a substantial toll reduction for 18-wheelers that circumnavigate the city on the Texas 130 and Texas 45 toll roads. Instead of paying $33 to bypass Austin, trucks will pay $11 or less.

“The goal is to give some traffic relief to Interstate 35 through the Austin metropolitan area,” said Mark Cross, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman. “35 between state highway 71 and U.S. 183 in Austin is the fourth most congested highway in the state.”

The big-rig toll discounts run from Feb. 4 to March 3. TxDOT says its contracts with the toll road owners prevent a permanent reduction.

Cross says the discount period will produce some valuable data about truck traffic patterns. It may also convince truckers that bypassing Austin’s congestion is worth the money, even without the discount.