Texas State Highway 45

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State Highway 45 marker State Highway 45 toll marker

State Highway 45
Route information
Length: 25.024 mi[1] (40.272 km)
Existed: 1985 – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Austin
Southwestern segment
West end: RM 1826 in Austin
East end: Loop 1 in Austin
Eastern segment
West end: RM 620 in Austin
Major
junctions:
US 183
Loop 1 Toll
I-35
SH 130 Toll
US 290
SH 71
US 183
SH 130 Toll
East end: I-35 in Austin
Highway system
I-45 SH 46

State Highway 45 is a highway loop around Austin, Texas, that exists in two open segments. The official designation of SH 45 is such to form a complete loop around Austin, a distance of roughly 80 miles (130 km).

One segment is in southwest Austin and runs roughly southeast from Ranch to Market Road 1826 to the southern terminus of Loop 1 (Mopac Expressway). The roadway is a divided, four-lane facility with a wide median intended to accommodate a future freeway, after which the current lanes would serve as frontage roads.

The other segment is a toll road that forms a backwards C-shape along the boundary of Travis and Williamson County before bending down along the eastern edge of the Austin metropolitan area where it shares its route with SH-130.

Toll road expansion[edit]

Before the 2002 Central Texas Turnpike Project (CTTP), SH 45 existed only as a short section of four-lane, divided highway in southwest Austin. The CTTP added a toll road that runs east from US 183 near Cedar Park, crosses I-35, bi-secting the La Frontera development, and meets SH 130 near Pflugerville. South of this interchange, SH 45 is co-signed with SH 130 to US 183 just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. SH 45 then loops westward rejoining I-35 north of Buda.

SH 45 North is an approximately 13-mile (21 km) segment in the north Austin metropolitan area. The freeway's western terminus is at US 183 northwest of Austin in Cedar Park. For a distance, RM 620 travels concurrently with the frontage roads also designated as State Highway 45 (non-tolled). Heading east, the freeway intercepts Loop 1's northern terminus, bisects La Frontera and crosses I-35. This particular segment ends at SH 130 near Pflugerville, but the SH 45 designation continues southward along SH 130.

State Highway 45 interchange with Interstate 35 under construction.

The Texas Department of Transportation had originally planned to complete construction of the entire 2002 CTTP in September 2007 but opened some sections of SH 45 North as early as October 31, 2006.

SH 45 Southeast is a 7.4-mile (11.9 km), tolled segment southeast of Austin, near Creedmoor, Texas. Roughly paralleling Farm to Market Road 1327, it is a four-lane, controlled-access facility that links SH 130 and US 183 to Interstate 35 north of Buda, Texas. It completes the SH 45 eastern bypass loop around the Austin metropolitan area.

Originally planned as part of the 2002 CTTP, SH 45 Southeast became the subject of controversy, delaying development and necessitating it as a separate project. In 2006, an environmental advocacy group filed a lawsuit in an effort to move the alignment further south. By the summer of the same year, the Federal Highway Administration approved a new environmental impact study affirming the existing alignment, and a federal judge dismissed the case, clearing the way for construction, which began in Summer 2007. SH 45 Southeast was opened to traffic on May 7, 2009.

SH 45 Southwest is a proposed link between the existing non-tolled SH 45 terminus at Loop 1 and Ranch to Market Road 1626 to the east. It could be tolled, especially if it included a freeway component. But if built, SH 45 Southwest would still require a segment between RM 1626 and I-35 to connect to the other tolled segments of the highway.

This missing link was one source of controversy surrounding the alignment of SH 45 Southeast. Opponents claimed the proximity of the southwestern and southeastern sections would create more pressure to connect the two and that, if built, the link would encourage development on or near environmentally sensitive land.

History of the SH 45 designation[edit]

Old Texas 45.svg

State Highway 45 was originally designated in 1919 as a route from Bryan to Louisiana border. By 1926, the section west of Roans Prairie was cancelled. By 1926, the section from Point Blank to Livingston had yet to be built, so SH 45 was rerouted through Coldspring. By 1933, large portions of the highway were still under construction along the proposed route. SH 45 was realigned on a more straight route, with the old route being renumbered as SH 156 and part of SH 150. By 1938, the road was complete, with small portions remaining as a dirt road. Within the same year, the highway from Huntsville to Jasper had been transferred to U.S. Highway 190, the stretch from Jasper to the Louisiana border transferred to SH 63, and the section from Roan's Prairie to Huntsville redirected north to Crockett. In 1960, the stretch from Huntsville to Crockett was transferred to SH 19. The next year, the rest of SH 45 was canceled and transferred to SH 30.

SH 45A was a spur designated in 1928 from Coldspring west to New Waverly. By 1933, this spur was renumbered as SH 150.

Exit list[edit]

County Location mi km Destinations Notes
Williamson Austin RM 620 (SH 45 west) / Pecan Park Boulevard
US 183 / 183A Toll Road north westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Lake Creek Parkway westbound exit and eastbound entrance
toll plaza
FM 734 (Parmer Lane)
  RM 620 Access to Round Rock Medical Center
  O'Connor Drive / McNeil Road
  Loop 1 Toll south
Round Rock FM 1325 (La Frontera Boulevard) / County Road 172
I-35 – Waco I-35 exit 250B; no direct exits to I-35 south (signed eastbound at FM 1325 and westbound at A.W. Grimes Boulevard)
Greenlawn Boulevard no direct westbound exit (signed at A.W. Grimes Boulevard)
A.W. Grimes Boulevard
Donnell Drive no westbound exit
Travis Pflugerville Heatherwilde Boulevard eastbound exit and westbound entrance
toll plaza
SH 130 / FM 685 / Kelly Lane SH 130 exit 428A
SH 130 Toll north – Waco north end of SH 130 overlap; SH 45 north/west follows exit 428B
see SH 130
Mustang Ridge US 183 – Austin, Lockhart, Airport SH 130 exit 457
SH 130 Toll south – Lockhart, San Antonio south end of SH 130 overlap; SH 45 south/west follows exit 458
  To FM 1625 – Creedmoor
  North Turnersville Road
Austin I-35 – San Antonio, Austin I-35 exit 223A
Gap in route; free frontage roads only west of Loop 1
Austin Loop 1 north
Escarpment Boulevard
RM 1826
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division. "State Highway No. 45". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing