Toll roads could be removed from Loop 1604 improvement plan

Loop 1604

SAN ANTONIO - Will improvements on Loop 1604 include toll roads?

Members of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) could be changing their minds on how to pay for major highway improvements on the North Side.

MPO voted last year to approve toll roads to pay for the highway expansion.

Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff said a toll road might not be necessary because there is more money available.

“Most people would rather travel on a non-toll road than a tolled one,” Wolff said.

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MPO will vote to ditch the toll roads at Loop 1604 between Bandera Road and Interstate 35. Instead the state would put up the remaining $500 million for the project.

“There are more non-toll dollars available than there are in the past," Wolff said. "We are making sure that we here in San Antonio and in Bexar County are asking for our fair share from Austin."

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials said the project would be smaller without toll roads.

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The improvements would go from Bandera Road and stop at Redland Road just past Highway 281, about eight miles short of I-35.

"If we can get that section done, which is by far the busiest section, and that includes a new interchange at I-10 and 1604, which is horrendous, then we are getting the biggest bang for the buck," Wolff said.

The highway would expand from four lanes to 10, with four regular lanes and one HOV lane going in each direction.

MPO will vote Aug. 7 at their next meeting. After the vote, the decision goes in front of the Texas Transportation Commission. Wolff said the commission is receiving several similar requests from other cities looking to change toll road projects into regular highway projects.

If the request doesn’t go through, toll roads could be back on the table.

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